1999 NCAA College Football Attendance
1999 Football Attendance Story
By Richard M. Campbell
NCAA Statistics Coordinator
NCAA college football attendance added a record of nearly two million new fans in 1999 and home attendance went over the 39-million mark for the first time in history, bolstered once again by Division I-A football fans.
The 601 NCAA teams posted 1999 attendance totals at 39,482,657 for all four divisions, a jump of 1,991,477 and surpassed the previous record total of 37,491,078, set in 1998. It was the biggest jump in one year since 1978, when NCAA-only teams were counted.
It also was the first time in history over the 39-million mark and the sixth consecutive year that college football attendance surged upward. The previous record for improvement was 1,591,352 in 1994.
Division I-A totaled a record 29,032,973 home fans, an average of 43,593 per game, and a jump of 1,358,756 in total attendance from the previous mark, set last year.
Home-game attendance in Division I-A accounted for almost 75 percent of the 1999 national totals. The NCAA Statistics Service began compiling national football attendance in 1948. Since 1978, only NCAA teams have been included in attendance figures.
The continuing climb in I-A attendance, despite a proliferation of televised games, is tied to better marketing, expanded stadiums and the excitement generated by the college game. In fact, the statistical trend of the 1990s heading into the new millenium is the exciting passing attacks in college football. Televised college football games, brought about by conference television packages, have increased fan support and recognition rather than cause overexposure.
Division I-AA had its biggest jump since 1993 drawing 5,949,345 fans, an increase of 393,381 over 1998. It was the second best total for I-AA since its inception in 1978, trailing only 1994's'record 6,193,989. Both Division II and III were up from last year in average per game and total. Division II was at 2,504,118, the best total since 1996 and Division III was at 1,996,221, the best total since 1992.
Michigan No. 1
The Michigan Wolverines took the home attendance title for the second straight year, setting another per-game record. With an average of 111,008 at Michigan Stadium, the Wolverines became the first college team to average more than 111,000 per home game.
Tennessee was second, even though it averaged 106,839, the fourth-best figure in NCAA history. Penn State, averaging 96,500, finished third for the fifth year in a row and Ohio State (93,456) and Georgia (86,117) rounded out the top five.
The Big Ten and Southeastern Conferences had eight of the top ten teams in home attendance as the two fought it out for the conference attendance title. The SEC averaged 70,521, an all-time per-game norm, to become the conference champion for the second consecutive year.
Total attendance records were set in Division I-A by the Southeastern Conference, Big 12 Conference, Conference USA, Mid-American Conference and the newly-formed Mountain West Conference, in its first season.
The Southeastern Conference packed seats at an all-time record pace in 1999, averaging more than 100 percent capacity (100.4 percent) of its 12 stadiums. Other leagues with big crowds included the Big 12 Conference with 93.8 percent of capacity, Big Ten Conference with 90.9 percent and the Atlantic Coast with 85.7 percent.
Jackson State in I-AA
Jackson State captured its fifth I-AA national attendance title in the last 11 years by averaging 28,933. Yale was second at 27,518, Southern University was third at 25,734.South Florida, last year's attendance champion, was fourth at 25,053 and North Carolina A&T rounded out the top five at 21,954.
The Southwestern Athletic Conference won its 22nd consecutive I-AA attendance title, averaging 15,318. The Ivy League was next at 11,741 and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference was third at 11,701.
Divisions II and III
Tuskegee took its second straight attendance title in Division II averaging 13,336 and outdistancing Morehouse (11,883), Presbyterian (11,752), North Dakota State (11,410) and Winston-Salem (9,622) in the top five. The Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference captured its eighth consecutive Division II conference attendance crown averaging 6,946 per game.
In Division III, defending champion Mount Union won its first-ever attendance title averaging 5,743 per game. Last year's leader, St. John's (Minnesota) was second at 5,615 followed by Emory & Henry (5,418), Mississippi College (5,010) and Baldwin-Wallace (4,433). The Old Dominion Athletic Conference captured its 11th consecutive Division III conference attendance title averaging 2,955 per game.