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SEC Football Attendance Highest for 18th Straight Year

The annual report from the National Football Association finds that for the 18th season in a row the SEC had the highest attendance in the sport averaging 78,630 fans per home game.

Also, fully six SEC teams made the top ten in overall attendance according to the 2015 College Football Ratings and Attendance Report released today.

“The already intense interest in college football continues to grow,” NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell said in a press release. “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.”

Attendance remains high for other conferences, too, with The Big Ten coming in second with 66,008 fans, followed by the Big 12 with 57,347 in attendance, the Pac-12 at 51,880, and the ACC with 49,033.

The review of the state of college football also found that digital outlets for games continues to grow.

“WatchESPN, saw per game increases of 54 percent in average minute impressions,” the study said, “38 percent in total unique viewers and 53 percent in total minutes viewed. Factoring in both the regular season and bowl season, seven of the top 10 most-streamed college football games ever occurred during the 2015 season.”

As to specific team attendance, Michigan led all of them with and average of 110,168 fans per home game in 2015. In second place was Ohio State at a rate of 107,244 fans. Texas A&M measured in at third with 103,622. Texas was followed by LSU (102,004), Alabama (101,112), Tennessee (100,584), Penn State (99,799), Georgia (92,746), Florida (90,065) and Texas (90,035).

Attendance growth for college football has been on the upswing since the 1950s with just over 49 million fans in attendance for the 2015 season. That is an incredible increase of 156 percent from the 19,134,159 fans the NCAA found in its first report in 1948.

For the networks, for the seventh consecutive season, the “SEC ON CBS” was the highest-rated regular season college football broadcast on any network. CBS Sports’ national coverage of SEC football averaged a national household rating/share of 3.4/8. The 2015 season marked the 20th year SEC football has appeared on CBS.

CBS also scored the highest rated and second most highest rated games on TV with 12.76 million viewers for the Alabama and Florida game on Dec. 5 and 11.06 million viewers for Alabama’s primetime showdown versus LSU on Nov. 7.

Rounding out the top five most-watched games were Michigan State-Ohio State on ABC in week 12 (11.05 million viewers), Ohio State-Michigan on ABC in week 13 (10.83 million), and Ohio State-Virginia Tech on ESPN in week one (10.59 million).

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com

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