Attendance drops as season progresses

Lauren Giudice

When fans looked around DKR Stadium on opening day against Rice, there appeared to be a sea of burnt orange.
But as the season has progressed and Texas’ record has gone from 4-0 to 5-2, the sea of orange has become much more scattered.

When Texas played Rice on September 3rd, attendance was 101,624. During Texas’ domination of Kansas last Saturday, the attendance was 99,211. That is a 2,413 decrease. The games against BYU and Oklahoma State also had lower attendance than the Rice game.

“They usually only fill the stadium for the sexy matchups so it’s frustrating for me as a season ticket holder to go to the games and see all the empty alumni seats,” said season ticket holder Christopher Kluck. “In terms of fans, Texas is a victim of its own success over the last 10 years or so.”

Kluck is a member of Longhorn Tailgaters, a semi-private tailgate located at Trinity and 15th streets. Although attendance at games has gradually decreased over the past few games, the game this Saturday will be at 11 a.m. This start time will likely negatively affect attendance. Starting so early affects the team and tailgates, according to Longhorn Tailgate member Robert Cruz.

“One way it hurts us because we have a lot of sponsors and our job is to advertise and get the sponsors’ names out there for all the people who come to our tailgates,” Cruz said.

Cruz said the tailgate usually has about 70 or 80 people attending, but this Saturday they are only expecting about 15 people.

“There should be a huge attendance for a game against a rival like Texas Tech,” Cruz said. “But because the game starts at 11 a.m., there will probably be quite a few empty seats.”

Kluck said the tailgate is toned down for morning games. But they still set up a few tents and make breakfast tacos and mimosas.

“The late games make it an all-day event, which allows us to have a band or a DJ and really pull out all the stops in terms of food and entertainment,” Kluck said. “It’s hard to justify spending a lot of time setting up a tailgate when you know that you are only going to get an hours worth of guests.”

Cruz, who graduated in 2007, said he looks forward to football season all year and while it is here, fans should take advantage of it and enjoy it.

Kluck and business sophomore Jordan Clark both believe that the team deserves to have its fans at every game cheering and being supportive.

“Especially at the BYU game, everyone was there and you had that feeling that people were really behind the team,” Clark said. “There was definitely a lot more enthusiasm and people just enjoyed themselves more when there were a lot more people there too.”

Clark said even people in his seating group have stopped coming to games.

“We used to take up an entire row and now there’s only about five of us that come around,” Clark said.

Last year, the Iowa State game was at 11 o’clock and attendance was not strong and neither was Texas’ play. The Longhorns lost 28-21.

“We were able to turn the BYU game around even though we were behind,” Clark said. “If you don’t have that kind of motivational force behind you, that can definitely help the team turn the game around.”

Clark understands that many students will not want to get out of bed to get to the game at 11 o’clock and that it’s disappointing that people will be unable to tailgate. But, he knows this weekend will be a great game and he believes that students should come out and support.

Co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite said it’s important for students to be in their seats early for kickoff on Saturday.

“These are kids,” Applewhite said. “I know we look at them different on game day. But they’re still 18, 19, 20 year olds. And they go in the environment around them.” He said fans needs to come out and be loud and support the team.

“If the flow is loud, rambunctious and everybody’s having a good time, then they feed off of that,” Applewhite said. “There’s no doubt. You can’t hide that. So we need everybody involved.”