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WSU looking for bowl game bounce in attendance for 2016

BILL MOOS and Washington State will be hoping for that "bowl year bounce" when it comes to attendance next season. Despite an 8-4 regular season record, WSU’s attendance fell from the previous year, according to CBS Sports.

Attendance at WSU home games fell five percent this season compared to last. 

For the Pac-12 Northwest teams, UW was down four percent, Oregon State was down 14 percent and Oregon was static (up less than one percent).  Elsewhere in the Pac-12, UCLA was down 13 percent and Arizona State was down eight percent. Cal was the biggest gainer, up eight percent. Stanford and USC were up four- and three-percent, respectively.  Arizona and Colorado were up one percent and Utah was up less than one percent.

Overall in the Pac-12, crowds dipped one percent this season, and are down 11 percent from its peak in 2007, CBS Sports said. (Note: The figures represent what schools reported to the NCAA and not necessarily actual attendance. Many athletic departments count attendance differently, some schools report to the NCAA the number of tickets sold as their attendance).

Earlier this year, Moos and WSU director of ticket operations Paul Finn pointed primarily to two factors for the expected decrease in attendance compared to last year: home opponents and coming off a bowl season in 2013.

Finn said WSU compares the 2015 season to 2013, rather than last year, because of like opponents at home. This season WSU played both Oregon and UW on the road.  In pulling up the attendance figures for both seasons, WSU drew slightly less fans this season than in '13, though it's not exactly an apples to apples comparison because of the now defunct Seattle game.

Washington State’s average attendance in six home games this season was 29,407.  In 2013, WSU averaged 29,738, including the 40,095 for the "home" game vs. Stanford in Seattle.   If you remove the Seattle game, WSU averaged 27,666 for its home contests in Pullman in 2013.

In 2014, WSU's seven home games averaged 30,812 fans (includes the Seattle game vs. Rutgers with 30,927 in attendance).

For 2016, WSU will be coming off a bowl season and have the Ducks and Huskies in Pullman.

On the downside, travel, the ability to watch every game in HD and ticket prices remain a challenge, and for college football in general.  Home attendance in college football declined for the fifth consecutive year, according to CBS Sports, though the rate has slowed. The decline this season was less than one percent. In 2014, it was minus-four percent.

The Cougs play seven games in Martin Stadium in 2016: Eastern Washington, Idaho, Oregon, UCLA, Arizona, Cal and UW. Road games are Boise State, Stanford, ASU, Oregon State and Colorado.

RELATED STORY: Sizing up WSU's 2016 schedule


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