FCS attendance average down 4.5 percent in 2018
By CRAIG HALEY
(STATS) - The average attendance at FCS games decreased by 4.5 percent in the 2018 season, reflecting a continued problem in recent years.
The NCAA's annual attendance report indicates the average FCS crowd size was 7,853, down 370 per game from 8,223 in the 2017 season. The season's 669 games, based on home and neutral-site attendance plus the FCS championship game, drew 5,253,371 fans (neutral-site games between FBS and FCS teams were part of FBS attendance figures, not the FCS; reclassifying FCS program North Alabama also was not included in FCS numbers).
The 14 neutral-site games rose by 1,004 fans to 31,557 on average, a 3.2 percent increase from 2017. The 23-game playoffs drew 185,998 fans, an average of 8,087 per game, down 16.4 percent.
Jackson State was the FCS attendance leader, averaging 24,770 over four home games to edge Montana (24,677, six home games), which ranked No. 1 in the three previous seasons. James Madison (20,911, six) was third followed by Southern (18,803, fourth) and FCS champion North Dakota State (18,106, 10).Rounding out the top 10 were Florida A&M (17,873, six), Jacksonville State (16,904, six), Montana State (16,471, seven), Delaware (16,299, six) and Alabama State (16,073, four).
Seven of the top 13 attendances came from HBCUs - historically black colleges and universities. That helped the Southwestern Athletic Conference to average an FCS-high 15,240 fans per game, with the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference ranking third out of 13 conferences at 9,815. The Missouri Valley Football Conference was second at 9,864.
On the other levels of NCAA football, the average attendance in the FBS was down 0.8 percent; Division II, 6 percent; and Division III, 9 percent.
Updated June 5, 2019