A recent article by Craig Haley, Senior Editor for Stats Peform FCS, noted that average attendance numbers at FCS games decreased slightly in 2019 from a year ago, but the total attendance numbers rose due to more games played.
Due to the scheduling calendar, FCS teams were permitted to play 12 regular season games in 2019, one more than 2018. While the average attendance did not increase, the total number of games rose to 723 games from 669 games, which equaled a total growth of 407,688 fans.
While attendance among the FCS landscape may have declined or showed no significant improvement, the two HBCU FCS conferences, the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), were the top two conferences among the 13 FCS conferences in average attendance per contest. Last year, they were first and third.
For the SWAC, it was the 14th consecutive year (dating back to 2006) their 10 member institutions had the best total average attendance numbers in FCS. They averaged 15,266 fans per contest, which was a slight tick above the 15,240 average of 2018.
Despite losing members over the past two seasons, the MEAC’s average of 9,782 fans per contest was less than the 9,815 average of a year ago, however among FCS conferences they rose to second best. Last year, the MEAC ranked third and in 2017 ranked fifth.
Jackson State University led all FCS programs in home football attendance for the second consecutive year. In 5 games, the Tigers average attendance rose to 33,762 from 24,770 in 2018. Fellow SWAC member Alabama State ranked fourth overall (5 games, 17,799 average per contest), marking the second consecutive year in which two SWAC institutions were in the Top 5.
Rounding out the top 10 were three HBCUs, Southern University ranked seventh (4 games, 16,957 average per contest), which is down from their overall rank of fourth a year ago, North Carolina A&T ranked eighth (5 games, 16,927 average per contest), up from 11th overall last year, and Florida A&M ranked tenth (6 games, 16,537 average), a fall from sixth overall in 2018.
2019 FCS Home Attendance Top 10 List (Average per contest)
- Jackson State (5 – 33,762)
- Montana (7 – 22,545)
- James Madison (9 – 18,108)
- Alabama State (5 – 17,799)
- North Dakota State (9 – 17,440)
- Montana State (8 – 17,281)
- Southern (4 – 16,957)
- North Carolina A&T (5 – 16,927)
- Jacksonville State (7 – 16,829)
- Florida A&M (6 – 16,537)