Concerns about college football attendance have been highlighted in recent years, but the 2013 season saw more people attend games than ever before. The National Football Foundation released some attendance facts on Wednesday, reporting NCAA football attendance topped 50 million for the first time in history (50,291,275 fans, to be precise). That includes a bowl attendance totaling 1.7 million fans.
Of course, the total number of television viewers continues to amaze. According to the National Football Foundation, more than 216 million viewers tuned in to watch the regular season with another 127 million watching the bowl games.
“The already intense interest in college football continues to grow,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “Embracing ever changing technology, the leaders of our sport have done a spectacular job in ensuring that the fan experience not only keeps pace but sets the standard in innovation. We are grateful to the conferences, bowl games and the media for their creativity and commitment in delivering a first-class product that allows fans to experience the game in every imaginable way.”
The total attendance number accounts for all levels of the NCAA, from FBS all the way down to Division 3. The 2013 attendance total eclipsed the previous high set in 2011 (49,699,419 fans). No conference set the bar as highly as the SEC. According to the report, the SEC set an all-time record across all conferences of 7,567,406 fans in 2013, leading all FBS conferences in average attendance for the 16th consecutive year with 75,674 fans per game.
You can see the full breakdown of the various attendance stats from the National Football Foundation’s release.