Benjamin Cohen

Alabama Coach Nick Saban hopes for a large crowd in Bryant-Denny Stadium

Alabama A-Day Game on April 16 will be only SEC spring football game on ESPN

The highlight of spring football training for fans – and probably for players – is the public scrimmage in which followers get a glimpse of the team and which concludes the 15 days of practice.

In the past nine years – the Nick Saban era – Alabama has led the nation in spring game attendance with a total of 733,532, an average of 81,503 fans per game. The largest A-Day crowd in school history came in 2011 when there were 92,310.

The most astonishing came in Saban’s first spring in 2007. At that time Bryant-Denny Stadium had a capacity of 92,138. Historically, A-Day Game seating had been confined to the East side and end zones. But on that day the fans kept coming and new sections were opened up, until finally the entire stadium was filled.

Saban has said many times that a big crowd for A-Day is a benefit to the Crimson Tide football team in showing enthusiasm for the players, and also for demonstrating to visiting prospects the passion for Alabama football.

It may be, though, that Alabama’s national appeal has had a negative influence on live attendance in Bryant-Denny Stadium. A few years ago ESPN discovered the interest in Alabama’s spring game, and then to other college spring games. Since the game is now on television every year, there are fewer fans in the stands.

This year Alabama completes spring football practice with the A-Day intrasquad game on Saturday, April 16, and ESPN will televise the event. It will begin at 2 p.m. CDT and there is no admission charge

Every Southeastern Conference football team playing a spring football game this year will have its game televised, although the Crimson Tide is the only game that will be on ESPN. Ten games will be on the SEC Network and two on ESPNU.

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