One of major criticisms regarding TCU during the last several years has been that TCU, in spite of its great success of the football field and its location in a top-10 market, has failed to attract a large home crowd.
In 2005, in spite of its top-10 finish and 11-1 season, TCU only averaged 31,254 at home. Again, in 2008, TCU finished at No. 7 in the polls and averaged just 30,389 (although that number was greatly decreased due to rescheduled game which took place during a hurricane).
From 2005 to 2008, TCU averaged just 30,897 fans per home game.
Now, TCU has one of the lowest enrollments of all FBS universities. TCU's area alumni and current students are not enough to fill its stadium.
So, even with its low attendance, TCU had one of the highest ratios of attendance to current students in the country.
And while TCU is located in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, TCU received little local support until recently. The local newspapers, radio and TV stations barely even mentioned TCU, while concentrating on the teams of the Big 12 South.
Add on top the all-oppressive overlay of the Dallas Cowboys, the focus of local media 365 days a year, and there was little space for TCU.
But last season, TCU finally broke through with the local media as they somehow discovered that they had a top-10 team in their own backyard.
Of course, the national media also found TCU, as the Frogs were twice the focus for ESPN College GameDay, including hosting the broadcast on the day of the TCU-Utah game. TCU set an all-time attendance record with 50,307 fans.
In its entire history in the Southwest Conference, TCU sold out only one game, even playing local and regional teams every season.
Now, TCU has sold out for the fourth time in five years and the third time in the last seven games.
Even if TCU does not sell a large number of standing-room only tickets, TCU should average over 41,500 through five games —an increase of over 10,000 in just two years.
Of course, TCU also opened at Cowboys Stadium against Oregon State and had over 46,000, as well as helping SMU set its all-time attendance record at the TCU road game earlier this season.
TCU will be starting a major remodeling of Amon G. Carter Stadium immediately following the last home game versus San Diego State. Over $100 million has already been raised for the updated stadium.
Next season, the Carter will have only about 30,000 seats, as the new upper deck will not be completed in time for football season.
In 2012, the updated and remodeled stadium will seat 40,000 fans, and it should be packed for every single game.
TCU has also planned for a possible expansion to 50,000 should the need arise.
In the meantime, folks around the country need to forget the idea that TCU can't draw fans to its games. Those days are gone for good.
TCU has made its claim to a large share of the DFW market, and it is not giving back.