Donors, alumni concerned over UCF football attendance

Dontravious Wilson, E.J. Levenberry, Jamar Summers
Central Florida running back Dontravious Wilson (7) is tackled by Connecticut linebacker E.J. Levenberry (12) and Connecticut cornerback Jamar Summers, bottom right, during the third quarter of an NCAA football game Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016, in East Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Stew Milne)

ORLANDO, Fla. (WESH) – It’s game day and fans are pumped – at least, the ones who showed up.

“It’s sad that we’re not filling the stands,” said Scott Ryerson, who was the team’s kicker from 1980-83.

Ryerson, who wore number 42 has been a season ticket holder since 1985. He says he’s never missed a home game and wishes others felt the same.

“I’m very disappointed with the attendance and students as well as the general fans,” said Ryerson. “They’re putting a good product on the field and they’re not showing up for the games. And it’s disappointing.”

Under a new coach the team has bounced back from last year’s devastating 0-12 season. But several donors and alumni tell our affiliate, WESH 2, they are concerned about declining attendance.

“I’m glad I wasn’t scalping tickets,” said Paul Chinaris, a season ticket holder for six years. “The only thing I can imagine is it being a commuter school, you don’t have people who are as invested in the school as you would at some of the bigger schools in the state.”

The stadium holds 45,301 fans. On the last home game of the season, the stadium was only three quarters full. On Nov. 12, 30,346 fans attended the home game against Cincinnati, according to attendance figures provided by the team. But video taken at the game, heading into the third quarter with the Knights up 10-3, showed most of the upper bowl, and half the stadium, empty.

This year the team averaged 35,934 fans per home game, according to attendance figures provided by the team. That is up from last year when an average of 30,064 attended. But it is down from 2014 and 2013. That year, an average of 41,310 fans attended each home game.

“I wish more people would come out,” said Chinaris. “And I don’t understand why.”

Athletic Director Danny White says they will be doing things “differently” next year to bring more fans out but would not elaborate.

Home Games Attendance

2016

  • Sept. 23 UCF vs. South Carolina: 36,260
  • Sept. 17 UCF vs. Maryland: 43,197
  • Oct. 15 UCF vs. Temple: 38,299
  • Nov. 15 UCF vs. Tulane: 31,571
  • Nov. 12 UCF vs. Cincinnati: 30,346
  • Average: 35,934

2015

  • Sept. 3 UCF vs. FIU: 39,184
  • Sept. 19 UCF vs. Furman: 36,484
  • Oct. 10 UCF vs UCONN: 26,669
  • Oct. 24 UCF vs. Houston: 28,350
  • Nov. 19 UCF vs. East Carolina: 23,734
  • Nov. 26 UCF vs. USF: 25,967
  • Average: 30,064

2014

  • Sept. 20 UCF vs. BCU: 44,510
  • Oct. 9 UCF vs. BYU: 41,547
  • Oct. 18 UCF vs. Tulane: 35,015
  • Oct. 25 UCF vs. Temple: 39,554
  • Nov. 14 UCF vs. Tulsa: 35,323
  • Nov. 22 UCF vs. SMU: 30,920
  • Average: 37,811

2013

  • Aug. 29 UCF vs. Akron: 35,115
  • Sept. 29 UCF vs. South Carolina: 47,605
  • Oct. 26 UCF vs. UCONN: 37,924
  • Nov. 19 UCF vs. Houston: 44,665
  • Nov. 21 UCF vs. Rutgers: 41,244
  • Average: 41,310

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