Despite attendance being on a downward trend for most schools across the country, BYU’s average of 61,647 fans per game in 2021 was the best its had since it averaged 64,236 in 2009.
It’s fun to point at the Pac-12 and acknowledge its lackluster fans, but the reality is it’s happening all over. For example, the average number of fans in FBS stadiums in 2019 was just 41,129 which was the lowest since 1996. Attendance has actually been at a steady decline for over 10 years, with the exception of 2013, but even then it was just a spike of 222 fans on average.
It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise when you take in account the cost of tickets, concessions, and parking; weather conditions and maybe most impactful the ability to watch from the comfort of your home with 4K, replays, food, friends and just about anything else you want. But while all this has been happening, BYU’s numbers have been able to remain steady.
Going back to 2011 (because now that BYU is P5, we don’t need to dip back into the G5 days, right?), BYU’s home attendance has remained pretty consistent. The biggest dip came in 2018 following a 4-9 year. The home games that year weren’t great either — Cal, McNeese State, Utah State, Hawaii, Northern Illinois, New Mexico State, but it also wasn’t as bad as some of the earlier home schedules at the start of the Independence era. Here’s how BYU numbers the past decade have compared to the national average:
Things picked up steam at the tail end of 2018 with Zach Wilson starting to make some noise, and the Utah and USC home games helped aide in BYU’s increase of 7,071 fans per game from 2018 which was good for No. 5 nationally.
BYU went on to finish the year No. 22 in home attendance, averaging 59,547 (93% capacity). Only one other school in the West topped BYU, and that was Washington at 68,238 (97%). Though there are still a few weeks left in the 2021 home slate for FBS schools, it’s hard to see any west coast school topping the Cougars this year.