Who said college football had an attendance problem?
The 657 schools from all divisions—13 more than in 2012—drew a total of 50,291,275 fans in all contests. That breaks the previous mark of 49,699,419 that was set back in 2011.
As expected, the Football Bowl Subdivision led the way, averaging 45,671 fans per game for a record total of 38,135,118. The Football Championship Subdivision came in second with 6,238,740 spectators, Division II followed with 2,985,610 and Division III rounded it out with a record 2,465,231 total fans.
Although the SEC’s national championship streak came to an end in 2013, the same cannot be said about the conference’s vice grip on the attendance mark.
For the 16th straight year, the SEC thrived, averaging a record-setting 7,567,406 fans per game. The Big Ten (70,431) was close behind, followed by the Big 12 (58,899), Pac-12 (53,619) and ACC (49,982).
Not surprisingly, Michigan set the pace among all teams, averaging 111,592 fans during their seven home games. It’s the 44th time the school has captured the attendance title since 1949 and marks the Wolverines’ 16th in a row.
But as ESPN's Darren Rovell notes, it comes with a catch:
Michigan led college football attendance for 16th straight year. But 26% of students who bought tickets didn't show.— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) February 11, 2014
Only two other teams—Ohio State (104,933) and Alabama (101,505)—topped the 100,000 mark last season.
But let’s not forget to talk about the postseason.
During the postseason, the FBS hosted 35 bowl games. An average of 48,989 fans watched those games for an impressive total of 1,714,617.
With the College Football Playoff making its debut in 2014, there's a good chance that the numbers continue to go up next season. Who doesn't love some playoff action?
All in all, the future certainly seems to be shining bright for college football.