It seems like at least once per month, AL.com’s Jon Solomon plugs in his calculator and proceeds to calculate a batch of bad news.
Today’s bad news? Here you go:
The Sugar Bowl’s announced crowd of 54,178 for Florida-Louisville was the game’s worst since 1939 and the smallest ever for a BCS bowl.
Horrors and more horrors:
Reports showed Louisville sold about 15,000 of its 17,500-ticket allotment to Wednesday’s game, and Florida sold only about 7,000.
I’m not as quick with a calculator as Jon Solomon is, but let me help explain this anyway: Florida was playing Louisville. This Florida team, the one that didn’t represent the East in the SEC Championship Game and the one that lost to its arch-rival Georgia, was playing Louisville. Yes, the Louisville that played in the Big East conference and the one moving to the football-rich ACC.
In other words, a team and a fan base that didn’t give a hoot took the honorable mention circuit through New Orleans to play a powerhouse football school that couldn’t even sell out a subsidized ticket allotment of 17,500. In other words, the game meant nothing and no one really cared. That doesn’t translate into a sold out bowl game.
Oh, and the game was also played on a Wednesday. Want to burn some of annual vacation on a meaningless bowl game? I didn’t think so.
Solomon can spin and spin the numbers…
Through 30 of 35 bowl games, the average announced bowl attendance is 46,278, down 5 percent from 2011-12 and 8 percent from 2010-11 through those same games. In a rarity, the Sugar was outdrawn by the Outback, Music City, Holiday and Capital One bowls.
The New Orleans Bowl was only 5,350 fans behind the Sugar, which had not produced such a small crowd since 44,308 for TCU against Carnegie-Mellon in 1939.
…but these aren’t the numbers that matter. The real number to watch is the number of eyeballs tuned in to the bowl games. A who-gives-a-hoot bowl game played in the middle of the week – a day after a major holiday – isn’t designed to be friendly to fans that travel. It’s designed for folks in their recliners.
And concerning those television numbers, don’t be surprised to see those flat or declining as well. No one cares about Northern Illinois playing in any bowl game, much less the Orange Bowl. Ditto for Louisville. And ditto for most match-ups. The BCS has forced these nobody-gives-a-hoot match-ups on us and we are responding.