Bloomberg Businessweek

College Football’s Fumble: Empty Stands

Lucrative TV deals have masked falling attendance at games | “I hope it’s cyclical, but there’s not really an answer out there”

On a warm November Saturday in Boca Raton, 5,843 people turned out to see Florida Atlantic University (FAU) play its final home football game of the year. With 80 percent of the seats empty, it was the Owls’ smallest crowd since the team jumped to college’s top division in 2005. A week later, the Florida State Seminoles played their last home game in Tallahassee to more than 78,000. The student section alone had three times the fans FAU had in its entire stadium.

With the fanfare building for the

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