• Wed. Nov 30th, 2022

Colleges launch premium playday experiences to boost attendance

ByDebra J. Aguilar

Sep 10, 2022
  • Average attendance for college football games in 2021 was the lowest since 1981.
  • Football officials say fans want more amenities and a better overall experience on matchdays.
  • The Clemson Tigers have unveiled a new “Masters Club” with a buffet and spacious seating.

College football fans will soon be offered more luxurious gaming experiences as schools strategize to improve attendance in their stadiums.

The 2021 Division I season saw an average attendance of 39,848 – the lowest since 1981, Yahoo Finance reported. Those who still participate want a higher quality experience than games offered in the past, according to a survey by college administrators.

The South Carolina Clemson Tigers, for example, unveiled an all-new “Masters Club” to help attendees “experience the passion, pageantry and tradition of football at Memorial Stadium with the comforts of home.” the official site says.

Masters Club amenities include an air-conditioned club lounge, personal locker with cooler, private restrooms, pre-match buffet and half-time snacks.

The premium experience comes with a price of $2,300 per seat for the season, but the package is only available to active members of Clemson’s sports fundraising program, IPTAY, at the annual donation level of 3 $500 or more.

If the exclusive experience is out of your budget, Clemson has also unveiled a new 7,125 square foot video card for all in-game participants to enjoy.

A post shared by Clemson Football (@clemsonfb)

The trend of promoting exclusivity in college football games is being explored by many schools hoping to boost ticket sales.

After a 15-year low attendance in 2021, Camp Randall Stadium at the University of Wisconsin was renovated in the offseason. The upgrades included more premium seating with bar-style tables, according to Yahoo Finance.

“There’s been a downward trend across the country,” Wisconsin athletic director Chris McIntosh told Yahoo Finance. “It’s a signal from the customer. So I think you see programs like ours trying to introduce new options and an opportunity to hedge against that and give existing customers an opportunity to find something that could help them. retain longer or attract new customers.”

The new and improved Camp Randall stadium – originally built in 1917 – will seat about 5,000 fewer fans, but the goal is for the focus on luxury seating to generate about $3.5 million in revenue, a said McIntosh.

Investing in more luxurious options is already paying off for Clemson, university athletic director Graham Neff told Yahoo Finance. Premium seats were nearly sold out in some areas of the stadium in the weeks leading up to the home opener.