With half of the home 2011 football schedule now in the books, let's take a look at BC's per-game home attendance through the first three games of the season.
Here is the official attendance for the Eagles' first three home games:
Sep 3 vs. Northwestern -- 37,561
Sep 17 vs. Duke -- 35,812
Sep 24 vs. Massachusetts -- 30,176
Clearly, attendance is on the downslide after starting the season 0-3. In fact, if the season ended today, Boston College would have the lowest per-game attendance (34,516) over the last 18 seasons (since Alumni Stadium was last renovated before the 1994 season).
Thankfully, the season doesn't end today and BC has three more home games against Wake Forest, Florida State (Thursday night) and N.C. State. But will attendance get any better during the second half of the season? Let's make some back-of-the-envelope projections here.
Using historical per-home game attendance figures for BC's three remaining home opponents (from 1994-2009), we can get a sense of what attendance will look like for the rest of the season.
Oct 1 vs. Wake Forest -- 38,276 (average over 5 games)
Nov 3 vs. Florida State -- 41,149 (4)
Nov 12 vs. N.C. State -- 38,900 (4)
If these averages hold, BC will end the year with a per-game home attendance figure of 36,979, or 83 percent filled to capacity. That number doesn't look all that bad until you consider this would be the third lowest per-game average over the last 18 years. Only the 2009 season (35,716) and the 1997 season (36,288) boasted a weaker per-home game attendance figure.
The reality, however, is that BC will likely come in under those per-game averages for the Wake Forest, Florida State and N.C. State games and may finish with the lowest per-game attendance figure since 1995. BC may also finish not much higher than the 1993 average home attendance figure (33,198), back when Alumni's capacity was just 33,298.
What I find even most disturbing is the per-game home attendance trend per head coach. During the 1994, 1995 and 1996 seasons under Henning, the Eagles enjoyed some of the highest home attendance totals in the three seasons immediately after Alumni Stadium's last major renovation, averaging 44,315 over 11 home games.
Tom O'Brien gave this program some of its most successful seasons in program history during the early 2000s and fans responded by showing up at Alumni. Over 61 home games, TOB enjoyed a 40,135 per-game average. Jags did TOB one better, refusing to accept 8-9 win seasons and 40k attendance figure ceilings and averaged 41,513 per game over 14 home games.
Sadly, Coach Spaz is not enjoying the same success at the gate as his predecessors. Through 17 home games, Coach Spaz is averaging just 36,597 fans per game, an average that could get even uglier should the Eagles find themselves with only a couple of wins heading into the final home stand against Florida State and N.C. State.
An unfair comparison? Maybe. This season's 2011 home schedule was a once-in-a-decade pile of suck with Duke, Wake Forest and N.C. State all hitting the Heights this season, while the Eagles' one marquee ACC game -- Florida State -- is on Thursday night. The economy is in the toilet. There are more home games now than there were just a few years ago.
Even with all the excuses, the fact remains that Boston College home football attendance is way down, and has the potential to get much worse before the season is out. Does this fall on the head coach? The AD? Your thoughts?