Because [huge] network money has to come from somewhere, we can anticipate more and longer commercials in games that already subject fans’ patience, bladders, and backsides to what amounts to a four-hour stress test. Those who head from the stadium to the local motel instead of fighting traffic and fatigue on the long drive home are almost certainly looking at two-night minimums on rooms at grossly inflated rates. Throw in gas, food, and tickets for a family of four, and your credit card tally will scream of a weekend in Paris, not Clemson.


James Cobb, Spalding Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Georgia, goes on to describe

the sinister contagion of unadulterated commercialism now enveloping college football at every level. Left unchecked, it promises to make exiles of the students, alumni, and loyal fans in general who long saw games, not simply as athletic contests, but the centerpiece of a deeply personal, culturally affirming ritual.


UD thanks Jim.

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6 Responses to ““[A]ttendance fell by 7.6 percent between 2014 and 2018 at games involving the 130 big-time programs in the Football Bowl Subdivision, and the average turnout in 2018 was the lowest since 1996. Not only do major powers like Alabama and Clemson struggle to sell out their home games, but a 2018 Wall Street Journal investigation revealed that, on average, only 71 percent of those holding tickets for FBS games in 2017 ever made it through the turnstiles.””

  1. Stephen Karlson Says:

    I wonder how much attention the writer pays to that “culturally affirming ritual.” After the game the tradition is to sing the alma mater. Wisconsin’s Varsity with the a cappella “Praise to thee, our alma mater” followed by the arm waving.

    Well, maybe not at your Northwestern, where the alma mater is the St. Anthony Chorale!

  2. UD Says:

    ‘Despite debate that alteration would detract from the song’s prestige and elegance, English words were put to the Hymn in the late 1950s.’

    Classy NU.

  3. Stephen Karlson Says:

    Instructive. Thanks for looking that up. There’s apparently a formula for the words, there are similarities to “Rally sons of Notre Dame” and “Thousands strong we sing your name,” which is from the Northern Illinois alma mater, and it has a different tune but the same line pattern as the Deutschlandlied!

  4. theprofessor Says:

    OK, but some athletics departments are getting entrepreneurial and adding women’s mixed martial arts to drive up attendance.

  5. Margaret Soltan Says:

    tp: Women’s mixed mud wrestling wet t-shirt martial arts.

    LOL: I wrote that comment before actually opening the link in your comment. Wow. Just like the guys!

  6. Stephen Karlson Says:

    It gets better. Alabama State were an early adopter in the we-can’t-recruit-without-a-state-of-the-art-arena (which they sugar coat as “Acadome,” a bit more clever than the “convocation center” popular in the Mid-American) and there has already been a renaming scandal there.

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