Once again the University of Akron earned the dubious distinction of having the worst home attendance among all 125 NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision teams.
According to the Akron Beacon Journal the team attracted only 55,019 fans for six home games at InfoCision Stadium, a 30,000-seat facility.
Certainly, with over 20,000 seats vacant at every home game, the Zips could hardly use the crowd to its advantage. Last year the beleaguered Rubber City team managed a 5-7 overall record.
In 2005 the team drew just 54,464 fans and also captured the worst attendance in the nation. The Zips, however, still averaged over ten thousand fans per game, because the ‘o5 campaign consisted of only five home games at the run-down Rubber Bowl.
Drexel University sports management professor posits, “The quality of the team makes a huge, huge difference and matters a lot in attracting fans.” He added, “A noncompetitive team is going to make it hard no matter where you are or what your league you’re in.”
The low turnout by fans puts athletic programs at risk of losing their NCAA official status, according to an AP story. Schools need to average 15,000 fans in actual or paid attendance over a rolling two-year period to remain in Division I.
University of Akron President Scott Scarborough stated that football attendance will be ”a key performance indicator” for their new athletics director. The Zips expect a better turnout next year because their schedule features five Saturday games. In 2014, the team played three Tuesday night games due to a TV contract between the Mid-American Conference and ESPN.