Bowl Attendance 2011-2012
December 23, 2011 9:29 am, CST

By: Flint Harris    Follow Flint on Twitter, Join us on Facebook

Some have argued there are too many bowls, but we at enjoy the football buffet before the longest off-season in sports. Below is a list of college football attendance numbers from the 2011-2012 bowl season:

An attendance record was set at the Champs Sports Bowl as traditional power Florida State knocked off Notre Dame. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Rose Bowl
Oregon 45 Wisconsin 38
Attendance 91,245

Cotton Bowl
Arkansas 29 Kansas State 16
Attendance 80,956

BCS National Championship Game
Alabama 21 LSU 0
Attendance 78,237

Chick-fil-A Bowl
Auburn 43 vs. Virginia 24
Attendance 72,919 (15th straight sellout)

Fiesta Bowl
Oklahoma State 41 Stanford 38 (OT)
Attendance 69,927

Texas Bowl
Texas A&M 33 Northwestern 22
Attendance 68,395

Champs Sports Bowl
Florida State 18 Notre Dame 14
Attendance 68,305 (Record)

Orange Bowl
West Virginia 70 Clemson 33
Attendance 67,563 (This is what the Orange Bowl reported, but I would be shocked if more than 50,000 people were actually in the stadium)

Alamo Bowl
Baylor 67 vs. Washington 56
Attendance 65,256

Michigan fans were part of the third worst crowd in Sugar Bowl history. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Sugar Bowl
Michigan 23 vs. Virginia Tech 20 (OT)
Attendance 64,512

Capital One Bowl
South Carolina 30 vs. Nebraska 13
Attendance 61,351

Gator Bowl
Florida 24 vs. Ohio State 17
Attendance 61,312

Belk Bowl
North Carolina State 31 Louisville 24
Attendance 58,427

Liberty Bowl
Cincinnati 31 Vanderbilt 24
Attendance 57,103

Holiday Bowl
Texas 21 vs California 10
Attendance 56,313

Does that look like 46,000 plus announced attendance at the Ticket City Bowl? Photo from @whbritt

Music City Bowl
Mississippi State 23 vs. Wake Forest 17
Attendance 55,208

Insight Bowl
Oklahoma 31 Iowa 14
Attendance 54,247 (Record)

Outback Bowl
Michigan State 33 Georgia 30 (3OT)
Attendance 49,429

Sun Bowl
Utah 30 Georgia Tech 27 (OT)
Attendance 48,123

Ticket City Bowl
Houston 30 Penn State 14
Attendance 46,817

Little Caesars Bowl
Purdue 37 Western Michigan 32
Attendance 46,177

New Orleans Bowl
ULL 32 San Diego State 30
Attendance 42,841

Texas used big plays to beat Cal in San Diego. AP Photo/Gregory Bull

Independence Bowl
Missouri 41 North Carolina 24
Attendance 41,728 Bowl
Northern Illinois 38 vs. Arkansas State 20
Attendance 38,734

Pinstripe Bowl
Rutgers 27 Iowa State 13
Attendance 38,328

Las Vegas Bowl
Boise State 56 Arizona State 24
Attendance 35,720

Hawaii Bowl
Southern Miss 24 Nevada 17
Attendance 32,630

Armed Forces Bowl
BYU 24 Tulsa 21
Attendance 30,258

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl
Illinois 20 UCLA 14
Attendance 29,878

BBVA Compass Bowl
SMU 28 Pittsburgh 6
Attendance 29,726

Idaho Potato Bowl
Ohio 24 Utah St 23
Attendance 28,076

New Mexico Bowl
Temple 37 Wyoming 15
Attendance 25,762

Military Bowl
Toledo 42 Air Force 41
Attendance 25,042

The 2011 Beef O Brady's Bowl barely managed to bring in 20,000 fans.

Poinsettia Bowl
TCU 31  Louisiana Tech 24
Attendance 24,607

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl
Marshall 20 FIU 10
Attendance 20,072


18 Responses to “Bowl Attendance 2011-2012”

  1. Malcolm says:

    Obviously ticket sales numbers are not the same as attendance numbers. No way there were 41,000 or more fans at the Independance Bowl. If Mizzou can’t fill the stadium that’s ok. Bama fans will fill their home stadium when we come calling…

  2. Rickey D of the SEC says:

    Hawaii Bowl
    Southern Miss 24 Nevada 17
    Attendance 32,630

    I think the comma is in the incorrect position. At the most, maybe 3,263 in attendance

  3. Ron says:

    Far too many games and most are mediocre teams. I realize it’s all about money but I suggest limiting participants with a record of 8-3 or better. I’m a college football fan but ignore most of the games and this year will only watch two or three at most.

  4. Sean says:

    The first bowl games are always poorly attended. Its just ESPN programming. Post-Christmas, real games start & people show up. I think the Charlotte bowl had like 60,000 yesterday. Holiday Bowl will have 60+, Champs Bowl will have 70+ and the Alamo Bowl will be a crazy sellout thanks to RG3.

  5. Casey says:

    Interesting statistics but obviously the de-facto official sales numbers are not gate numbers scenario. The Universities are on the hook for 1,000′s of tickets that never get used and to ask people to travel so close to Christmas is difficult in this economy. We now pick participants ie: the Sugar Bowl based on how well the teams fan base travels. Also the SEC who are the hosts cannot have more than 2 teams in the BCS so to attempt to fill the building they’re selections were interesting to say the least. Hopefully Sean is right and the attendance picks up a bit for the bigger games. Thank you for listening

  6. ScottM says:

    Bowls are a joke playoff needed who cares bowls mean absolutly nothing any more

  7. tour guide says:

    The military bowl attendance of 25K was a joke. Look at the pictures, 50% of the seats would have had to be filled to be 25K. Didn’t happen. The USO nicely gives away lots of tickets which didn’t get used. In previous years, the Groupon people had deals to get locals to attend but not this year. Give us some east coast teams and actual attendance will go up. Mostly I feel bad for the lost business at hotels, restaurants, tourist sites, street vendors, and bars.

  8. Jeff says:

    The photo from whbritt is unrepresentative for two reasons.
    (1) The picture appears to have been taken late in the 4th quarter, or perhaps half-time. It was apparent that Penn State’s offense was not going to be capable of catching UH, and a lot of the locals and Penn State fans on that side of the field left early.
    (2) The side of the field the photographer was on (not shown in the picture) was absolutely packed like sardines and had both levels close to capacity. The side in the photo shown was a mix of locals and Penn State, and, I might add, pretty quiet and non-rowdy.

    I was impressed that there were a lot of Penn State-ers that were a long way from campus, and that the UH program is gaining a lot of alum support now that their program has returned to national power status for several years in a row now.

    Agree that the selection of Sugar Bowl teams was a dis-service to college football fans.

    • Sean says:

      It also looked like for the TicketCity Bowl, they put a lot of fans on the side facing the TV camera. Its also a 92,000-seat stadium so even 45,000 can look like nothing.

      Something similar happened when I went to the UConn bowl game in Birmingham at Legion Field. It was a good crowd, like 40,000+, but I’d say 90% of the crowd was in the stands facing the camera to make the huge stadium look better on TV.

    • Captdefeated says:

      I was at the TicketCity Bowl and I agree that the posted pic was not representative of the crowd on hand for the game. The side from which the photo taken was packed, mostly with UH fans, and many of the fans on the opposite side moved to the endzones to get out of the shade of the press box since game time temps were in the 40s – in the sun. By the mid-point of the game the endzone just out of camera-view was almost full while the home side was as empty as shown in the shot. In addition, listening to clips of the game showing a UH touchdown you can certainly tell how full the stadium was from the roar from the fans – felt great being there.

  9. Sean says:

    Um, the Orange Bowl looked pretty full during the blimp shots in the 1st quarter. I think that’s a pretty legit number.

    The stadium seats 75,000 so about 8,000 empty seats seems about right. 25,000 empty seats wouldve been way more noticable and I doubt ESPN would have gone with any blimp shots.

  10. Chris says:

    19,411 was number for Hawaii bowl. Hawaii high school state championship had 1000 more than the bowl game.

  11. [...] The end of the 2011/ 2012 season turned out to be a struggle for some schools to sell their ticket allotments for bowl games that they were selected to compete in. Much of what plays into a team being chosen [...]

  12. steve says:

    You would think that with a florida team in the beef o brady there would be better attendance, although FIU is not one of the florida college powerhouses. UCF and S. florida have also played to similar rowds in the 20,000′s. Maybe having the option to invite the best florida team bowl eligible they could possibily get a Florida st, Miami FLA, or Florida on a down year to play in the bowl and try a matchup with one of the smaller fla schools. Even leaving the option of an at large bid to one of the georgia univesities

  13. [...] Bowl Attendance 2011-2012 « HolyTurf – Music City Bowl Mississippi State 23 vs. Wake Forest 17 Attendance 55,208. Insight Bowl Oklahoma 31 Iowa 14 Attendance 54,247 (Record) Outback Bowl Michigan State 33 Georgia 30 (3OT) [...]

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