Good stuff from al.com today breaking down some national football attendance numbers, and noting that there’s been a pretty steady decline for a while that continued this season.
As the story notes, the national average regular season per-game attendance of 45,274 was the lowest since 2003.
After the story is a chart listing the attendance for every school in the country. As you can see, UW’s checks in at 58,617, 27th in the nation and third in the Pac-12 after USC (87.945) and UCLA (68,401).
And as the story also notes, UW’s attendance this year was six percent lower than in 2011, when Washington averaged 62,531.
Obviously, there were some extenuating circumstances for UW this year as it played the season at CenturyLink Field while Husky Stadium was renovated. For one thing, the CLink is a little smaller, with a listed capacity of 68,000 compared to the 72,500 of the old Husky Stadium.
UW’s largest home attendance this season was 66,202 for the USC game. Its lowest was 53,742 for the opener against San Diego State.
It’s hard to know exactly how much playing off-campus at the CLink impacted attendance, though I’m sure it did a little bit.
The hope will obviously be that attendance will rise next season when UW returns to its on-campus home, which will have a capacity of right around 70,000 (it hasn’t been officially set yet to the exact number but will be right in that ballpark). UW will play Boise State, Idaho State, Arizona, Cal, Colorado, Oregon and Washington State at home in 2013.
This year’s attendance ranks as the second-lowest for UW since Husky Stadium was renovated in 1987, when capacity went from 59,000 to 72,500.
After the renovation, UW averaged more than 70,000 in all but two seasons from 1987-2003, during which time it also never had a losing record (the only two years under 70,000 in that span came in 1988, when the Huskies averaged 65,624, and 1989, 68,940). Essentially, from 1990-2003, UW was just about at capacity for every game, never averaging fewer than 70,197.
But attendance started to drop in 2004 when UW’s streak of non-losing seasons was also snapped at 27. Here are the average home attendance figures since 2004:
2004 — 64,737.
2005 — 64,326.
2006 — 57,483.
2007 — 67,732.
2008 — 63,640.
2009 — 64,356.
2010 — 66,264.
2011 — 62,531.
2012 — 58,617.