Michigan sets all-time college football attendance record

Leon Halip

Michigan had the most fans ever per game at their stadium this year, breaking their own record from last year. That said, the SEC had the most overall fans, because ROLL DAMN ATTENDANCE CHAMPIONSHIP.

For a second straight year, Michigan set an all-time record for highest average attendance for a college football team, with 112,252 fans cramming into Michigan Stadium per game.

Last year, Michigan averaged 112,179 in 2011, then a record, but this year, upped that -- although they played only six home games in 2012, meaning the 2011 season still holds the all-time total attendance record. It's no surprise they had the most fans in college football this year -- it was their 15th straight attendance title.

The question is: how big is the Big House? Since an expansion in 2010, the official capacity is 109,901, but they're averaging 3,000 more fans per game than that. And even so, they're well off the highest number of people that can fit in the stadium: the college football single-game attendance record was set at the first-ever game under the lights at Michigan, the insane back-and-forth win over Notre Dame in 2011, where three touchdowns were scored in the last 1:12 of game time. That game had a whopping 114,804 in attendance. 5,000 over capacity is some serious sardine can/1950s phone booth stuff. I guess the Big House shows B1G fans aren't as big as we thought they were.

There's some other tidbits from the NCAA release:

  • The SEC had the highest overall attendance, setting an all-time record for a conference with 7,478,304 -- ANOTHER CHAMPIONSHIP FOR THE S-E-C, ROLL ATTENDANCE. It didn't hurt that they added two extra teams, but they also had the highest average attendance of any conference at 75,538 per game.
  • Bama also won the overall attendance title when you include road and neutral-site games, with 1,299,659 fans in 14 games.
  • Cal had the biggest increase in average attendance thanks to a move back into California Memorial Stadium from the temporary one-season digs at the San Francisco Giants' home at AT&T Park, which shows that a newly renovated stadium beats winning games.
  • Appalachian State, Montana, James Madison, and Old Dominion each had more than 20,000 fans per game. Meanwhile, the Sun Belt conference set an all-time average attendance record with ... 19,766. F-C-S! F-C-S!

All that and more kooky attendance facts here . They had this fun table, too!

2012 FOOTBALL ATTENDANCE
TEAMS GAMES ATTENDANCE AVG. CHANGE AVG.
FBS Home Attendance 120 763 34,312,026 44,970 -220,598 -528
FBS Neutral-Site Attendance 21 1,170,818 55,753 56,871 -6,133
FBS Bowl Game Attendance 35 1,722,833 49,224 -42,391 -1,211
FBS TOTALS 120 818 * 37,170,235 45,440 -241,560 -633
FCS Home Attendance 122 645 5,531,181 8,575 -318,732 -466
FCS Neutral-Site Attendance 14 414,680 29,620 -121,880 -189
FCS Championship 1 21,411 21,411 825 825
FCS TOTALS 122 660 5,967,272 9,041 -439,787 -579
DIVISION I TOTALS 242 1,478 43,137,507 29,186 -681,347 -461
DII Home Attendance 157 830 2,852,888 3,437 31,682 -120
DII Neutral-Site Attendance 23 145,882 6,343 -61,332 -5,169
DII Championship 1 7,527 7,527 251 251
DIVISION II TOTALS 157 * 854 * 3,006,297 3,520 -29,399 -218
DIII Home Attendance 240 1,206 2,349,123 1,948 -60,762 -54
DIII Neutral-Site Attendance 3 6,537 2,179 -7,439 626
DIII Championship 1 6,027 6,027 2,243 2,243
DIVISION III TOTALS 240 1,210 2,361,687 1,952 -65,958 -48
Home Attendance, Reclassifying Teams 5 27 453,056 16,780 35,832 4,509
NATIONAL TOTALS 644 * 3,569 * 48,958,547 13,718 -740,872 -330
* - Record
Note: San Diego State played host to a bowl game on its home field so the attendance (35,442) was included in SDSU's home attendance and in the bowl game total. Since it is counted in both categories, an adjustment was made in the FBS totals to reflect the accurate national total.
Championships: The total attendance for the FCS championship was 227,415 for an 11,969 average for 19 games; the DII championship was 98,231 for a 4,271 average for 23 games; and the DIII championship was 56,309 for a 1,816 average for 31 games.
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