How bad is Nova football attendance???

How bad is our football attendance?

Our attendance history is not easily available beyond 2006, but the last four home games may be the leanest home stretch in Villanova history:




Sam Houston....….2,333

The inspiration for this Fan Post is GPraz. I admire GPraz for his die hard loyalty. Here is his comment on our attendance:

The football people all bailed after the FBS move up didn’t happen and the stadium always an issue has reached a point for so many where it’s no fun anymore. When we were playing UConn, UMass even Boston University and Northeastern before they cancelled there was built in interest. I never had trouble filling my 5 tickets. Since 2011 it has faded……while the team got really good. Coincidently the Basketball team started playing really well again. Put these 5 things together

1) FBS…".no sorry just kidding"

2) Lack of traditional rivals replaced by Albany and Stony Brook etc

3) Crumpled stadium and horrible game experience

4) aging football "old school" fanbase

5)Basketball team surging.. and you have empty seats……ummm…sorry empty metal bleachers.
It should be noted FCS is down and interest down with the power 5 dominating football coverage and the press not just here has backed off coverage.
If Villanova REALLY wanted to fill that stadium they could. Refurbished and remodel it with concourses and real seats . have a 9000-10000 capacity, real tailgating (yes Radnor that means grills with hot dogs and beer) and promote NOT JUST ON LINE but to incoming students, basketball season ticket holders and appear on news channels (note you want the Jay Wright show you have to take the Andy Talley show etc and we can put at people in "seats"
33 years I don’t know everything but I know what a Villanova Football Fan is……or isn’t

I think GPraz’s post is dead on in so many ways.

1) Vince’s FBS fiasco. We failed on the most critical move in our football positioning. It’s not only that we failed, but how we failed, why we failed, and the communication failure during the whole fiasco. The other points all will come back to the FBS failure.

2) Rivals. UD is our only real rival. It’s the only game where we will draw over 10K consistently purely because of the rivalry. Penn, without scholarships, is no longer competitive enough to be a real rival but the are still one of our better draws. See point 1.

3) The stadium sucks, but a stadium alone won’t solve our problems. The stadium issues could be addressed without a complete overhaul. SEATS, BATHROOMS and CONCESSIONS. It’s not that hard. Reducing the capacity in the stadium is not a big deal – it is more than needed for the current status quo, and is not nearly large enough for a future step up (assume PPL is that answer). The tailgating part of the equation is also incredibly significant. It will take a huge effort to reverse the customer experience of the last 15 years. See point 1.

4) Current students and recent alumni do not care because the game day experience sucks and the 1AA level is not relevant. 1AA is a guaranteed loser. See point 1.

5) OK, GPraz he has 4 good points. I guess this is just to emphasize that the stadium sucks and his ass is sore on those benches.

Homecoming sucks. We have not broken 10K in recorded Homecoming history. Lame. If you set aside the Parents’ Weekend and Homecoming, and our UD rivalry, we haven’t cracked 9K at home since 2006 (Lehigh).

Without Parents’ Weekend and Homecoming, we averaged 4,046 over six home games this year. The lowest in recorded history on the same comparison. On top of that, consider that we were an excellent contending playoff team, with boosters buying tickets for students, and with a sold out Pavilion emptying into one of the games. The results are a complete failure for this regime’s management of the program.

So there is the bitching and moaning, but what should be done?

1) Get a new AD. He’s been in the spot way too long with too many failures. We need a fresh perspective and a strong leader.

2) Find a new football alliance. Maybe our last FBS failure was our last shot. The next try is harder. There is so much to do to get this program back on it’s feet off the field (we will be competitive with Andy). But GPraz’s point about rivals is critical. It’s not interesting to play Fordham, Albany, and Stony Brook. Delaware and Temple are our best rivals and we should be playing them at the FBS level, allowing us to play some relevant FBS out of conference games on equal footing (85 scholarships).

Here’s what I would do with football:

- Play Penn State at the Linc. I’d sell Penn State a split gate at the Linc for a 5 year deal of playing in Philly. We would be a stepping-up team. They should be phasing out 1-AA competitors, so an "away" game against an FBS newbie should fill their early schedule need. 5 away games is unusual, but they would get at least as much out of it as we would, having a big annual crowd in Philly. We would return the favor by playing basketball in their gym for those 5 years (again, no ding to our RPI vs. dropping one of the 5 cupcakes we currently have). In 2011 Penn State – Temple drew 57K at the Linc, in 2007 it was 69K.

- Play Temple at the Linc. 2012 33K, 2011 32K, 2010 32K, 2009 28K. Alternate Home Field, but play every year at the Linc.

- Play Delaware. Last 4 home games were over 10K. In 2011 the PPL game was 14K. Play at PPL every other year as FBS, with the enhanced schedule, and we will at least threaten capacity.

- Play a rotating group of Maryland (former rival), Syracuse, BC, Louisville, Cincy, etc.

- UMass, JMU, UConn, Army, Navy are better games than Stony Brook, Albany, Fordham.

Nova gave up on football just as the TV market for it exploded over the last 30 years. In the 50s we hosted home games over 90K at JFK (before it was JFK). (Georgia 98K, 1953; Mississippi 96K 1954).

At Villanova Stadium we "sold out" (over 13K) twice in 1980 before disbanding (BC and Cincy), and 11 times in the 1980s after bringing football back at 1-AA.

Should we rebuild or give up? The formula isn’t that hard. We need interest and leadership in the AD’s office. Why do the alumni base, students, and trustees stand for this?

How could we think of FBS when we are failing at FCS? We are failing because we are FCS, and all of the other poor decisions on game day experience.

I think we will always be basketball first. This does not have to conflict with the Big East. We could be relevant in football, with improved financials, and an improved community. Is it too late? Maybe, maybe not.

We don’t need a new stadium. Fix it up and use the existing PPL and Linc. We need a new AD and a new approach.

Further reading:

Big East Football Invite

A History of Missed Opportunities

FCS is a poor business model

Conference Alignment and FBS

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