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Tide tops in spring game attendance despite lowest turnout of Saban era

Alabama Spring Game Getty Images

Only at football-mad Alabama could being tops at something nationally also, at the same time, result in a low-water mark for the current era.

Such was the case Saturday afternoon as a total of 73,506 fans took in their Crimson Tide’s annual A-Day spring game.  That total topped the previous 2014 high-water mark of just over 72,000 for Penn State’s first spring game under James Franklin last weekend.

It also bested Iron Bowl rival Auburn, coming off an appearance in the BCS title game, and its 70,465 fans this same day, although weather in that part of the state may have played a role in those numbers.

It’s highly (highly) (highly) likely the Tide’s total from this Saturday will finish out the spring campaign as the most at the FBS level in 2014; of the remaining spring games, only those at Michigan State and UCLA could even remotely hope to surpass that total — and even that’s simply wishful thinking on anyone’s part.

Despite adding a “Spring Game Attendance High” notch in the belt to go along with yet another recruiting title this year, the turnout for Saturday’s A-Day game was the lowest since Nick Saban took over in Tuscaloosa.  In fact, it was the lowest since the 78,200 showed up during Saban’s second spring.

Of course, there’s not really any reason (at all) to fret over spring attendance as the Tide has blown past the 90,000-mark three times –2011 (92,310), 2007 (92,138), 2010 (91,312) — and the 80,000-mark once — 2009 (84,050) — during Saban’s eight years heading the football program.

More to the point, the eight most-attended spring games in the school’s history have come under Saban; prior to Saban’s arrival, the record amount of fans who took in a spring game was 51,117 (1988), or more than 20,000 fewer than the low-tide attendance Saturday.

Yeah, again, no need to fret for those who were even remotely inclined.

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23 Responses to “Tide tops in spring game attendance despite lowest turnout of Saban era”
  1. bralinshan says: Apr 19, 2014 10:30 PM

    It’s Easter weekend and my daughter usually goes to the Bama Spring game but is home like many students…
    So, 73,000 is not too bad for a holiday weekend.

  2. lbijake says: Apr 19, 2014 11:50 PM

    You would have thought that Nick would have rescheduled the game so that your daughter could attend. You should have dropped him a note.

  3. bralinshan says: Apr 20, 2014 1:23 AM

    I did write Saban an email about it and he said that IbiJake had already paid upfront for his Motel 6 room…..and his $29 room charge was non-refundable.
    So, Nick decided to go ahead with the game.

  4. dhardy8207 says: Apr 20, 2014 8:23 AM

    I had hoped to attend the A Day game but had to kick it with the grand babies this weekend. Also BAMA’s girls gymnastics team competed for the National Championship this weekend at the BJCC so there were quite a few BAMA fans in attendance to support those ladies.

  5. mtheparrothead says: Apr 20, 2014 8:54 AM

    Anybody ever study the relation between high attendance spring games and the lack of things to do in said state? There’s a reason bama and Ohio always do well. There’s nothing else to do.

  6. liverpoolred04 says: Apr 20, 2014 9:01 AM

    So was Auburn as far as gymnastics go.

  7. ancientcougar says: Apr 20, 2014 10:15 AM

    I love sarcasm

  8. annapterp says: Apr 20, 2014 12:29 PM

    I actually find it sad that 73,000 people have nothing better to do than watch an offseason team scrimmage. Is there really not something better to do with your time?!?!?!

  9. sportsfaninyyc says: Apr 20, 2014 1:01 PM

    Roll Tide, NC this year!

  10. dhardy8207 says: Apr 20, 2014 1:09 PM

    annaterp says;

    “I actually find it sad that 73,000 people have nothing better to do than watch an offseason team scrimmage. Is there really not something better to do with your time?!?!?!”

    I’m going out on a limb here and assume (which is not recommended) that you aren’t a “college football fan”. Lots of fans take in the spring A Day game because it is the one time that fans get a glimpse of the team before the season kicks in. It was gorgeous weather in T Town yesterday for an outside venue. Besides the coming out of fans also help with the recruiting tactics. BAMA had 4 top recruits that verbally committed yesterday. Now there is still the possibility that they may have a change of heart between now and next February, but at least the memory of a stadium about 3/4 full and the excitement of fans in the offseason will go with them when they get down to decision time. Atmosphere is truly important to these kids when they make their final decision…

  11. jsto9 says: Apr 20, 2014 2:15 PM

    Wait….so because you don’t go to a Spring PRACTICE game that somehow puts your interest in college football in question? Thanks for explaining the “rules” of being a college football fan to us. F**k you and people like you. Don’t tell me or anyone else iM not a college football fan because I don’t attend a glorified walkthrough practice or question the sanity of people who do. Do you storm the field when the Red team beats the White team? Do you sit around the fireplace and share stories of that awesome spring game back in 1996, the same year your team went 2-10 in games that matter? (Generalizing here, so dont get your panties in a knot). Spring football games have been and always will be a waste of time that have zero meaning. And I PLAYED in them for four years.

  12. Deb says: Apr 20, 2014 3:16 PM

    Some of you people are seriously demented … to the point that you probably spend your time away from CFT sniping at cars on the interstate.

    First, nasty idiot annapterp gets hysterical that college football fans would spend a spring afternoon attending a scrimmage game. OH MY GOD DON’T YOU HAVE ANYTHING BETTER TO DO ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

    Sure, they could have flown to Haiti to build houses for storm victims … or helped the Urkrainians defend themselves against the Russians. I’m sure annapterp was doing something similarly mind-blowing yesterday.

    Then when dhardy8207 simply defends the fans against that lunacy by saying this is a big football town some NUT called jst09 starts screaming F**K YOU. I PLAYED. SPRING GAMES DON’T MATTER. YOUR NOT A BETTER FAN THAN ME.

    Clearly, jst09 didn’t sit out long enough between head traumas.

    Geez … what idiots. If people enjoy attending a spring game, that’s their business. Get a grip.

  13. dhardy8207 says: Apr 20, 2014 4:24 PM

    jst09 says;

    “Wait….so because you don’t go to a Spring PRACTICE game that somehow puts your interest in college football in question? Thanks for explaining the “rules” of being a college football fan to us. F**k you and people like you.”

    Wow…Dude get back on your meds…smoking crack is not the answer for you..

    First, I post regularly on CFT, and like a lot of the fans that do post here regularly, we recognize those that don’t. Hence the part of my comment questioning anna’s participation in supporting college football. Why you felt the need to go off on some type of vile rant can only be explained by severe mental disease/behavior disorder.

    Secondly, my response to anna wasn’t derogatory, it was merely enlightening her on why some fans feel the need to support our teams even during a game that won’t go on record, won’t mean anything beyond the players, university, and the fans. Kudos that you played, tell me since you have such disdain for the significance of a spring scrimmage I take it that you’re sincerely damaged because you weren’t good enough to make the cut for the NFL? If you were once a college player, then you should understand what a stadium full of excited fans months before the season starts does for the morale of young players as well as the ones returning.

  14. 700levelvet says: Apr 20, 2014 4:58 PM

    I have a buddy who collects autographs from current and former professional athletes, and pays good money for them. I never really got it, but hey that’s his deal, he is a good guy and although I think it’s a waste, i never considered it sad. This is along the same lines to me. If people want to go to a spring game and support their team, so be it. Maybe a Dad or Grandpop was taking their son or grandson to have a good time, sure some people are obsessed but I think the majority take it for what it is…

  15. imaduffer says: Apr 20, 2014 7:25 PM

    I love it when idiots call either people idiots. Who gives a rats ass, it’s spring football?

  16. Deb says: Apr 20, 2014 7:39 PM

    I’m always by the people who don’t give a rat’s ass, but are always here to comment the stuff they don’t give a rat’s ass about.

  17. Deb says: Apr 20, 2014 7:41 PM

    Let’s try that again:

    I’m always amused by the people who don’t give a rat’s ass, but are always here to comment on the stuff they don’t give a rat’s ass about.

    And since I’m here fairly often, I’d love an edit feature, JT. 😉

  18. bralinshan says: Apr 20, 2014 8:29 PM

    Got to love the foolish response about “nothing better to do” than football in Alabama….
    Yeah, there’s nothing to do at all in states where the weather is great and you can go outside about 325 days a year. No wonder those nuts can’t wait to get to games….
    Unlike the frozen North…there’s a LOT to do there. For example, there’s the popular bowling thing. And, they can drink beer when they bowl. And they have movie theatre’s there too. That’s why football isn’t that big. Yeah, those people have it great.
    Poor Alabaman’s…that great climate keeps their options limited to a multitude of outdoor stuff. Which is why they love football so much I guess.

  19. youcantmakemepickausername says: Apr 20, 2014 9:44 PM

    I think some people have some misconceptions about spring games and the people attending them.

    I live out west now, but my family had Penn State season tickets for years and when I still lived back in PA, I went up to PSU for Blue/White weekends a lot, and quite frankly, the game itself was usually the least significant part of the whole weekend. I know for a fact we never stayed for a whole game, doubt we ever even stayed for three quarters. But the whole weekend itself was always a blast.

    The Friday before the game we’d either golf or do some fly-fishing, and the day of the game, we’d have a tailgate where we’d get together with some people in our section that we really didn’t see in the off season besides that weekend. Some of the conversation over the weekend obviously involved PSU football, but nothing really specifically about the particular game itself.

    I’ve always had plenty of “things to do” in my life, and I don’t regret going up to a spring football game being one of them.

  20. bamafan1973 says: Apr 21, 2014 12:38 PM

    My wife and I both were in T-Town for the “A-Day” game. Yes, we have lives, but this is something we enjoy (we are life-long Bama fans and season tix holders). Why hate on someone for doing what they want to do? There are plenty of things to do, either in Alabama, or Tennessee (where we live). Met people who drove to T-Town from Missouri, Florida, and many other states, just to attend the practice game, knocking off another item on their bucket lists.
    Give us fans a break, and enjoy college football. Roll Tide!

  21. packerbadger says: Apr 21, 2014 1:31 PM

    Well, since there isn’t much else going on in Alabumpkin’…..

  22. dcroz says: Apr 21, 2014 8:21 PM

    liverpoolred04: “So was Auburn as far as gymnastics go.”

    Ummm, nope. Auburn did not make the national championship meet for women’s gymnastics, so there were no Auburn fans at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex (or whatever they’re calling the two Cs now; used to be the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center) unless they were there by mistake. Thanks for playing, please try again.

  23. imaduffer says: Apr 21, 2014 9:21 PM

    Deb is like Coach Saban, can’t play by the rules so she ask JT to change the format so she doesn’t look like a fool when she’s trying to type something in the little box.

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