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Memorial Stadium half as full as a decade ago, but bigger crowds on deck

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Kansas defensive tackle DeeIsaac Davis (99) gets up to bat down a pass by Texas quarterback Shane Buechele (7) during the third quarter on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas defensive tackle DeeIsaac Davis (99) gets up to bat down a pass by Texas quarterback Shane Buechele (7) during the third quarter on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

Attendance at Memorial Stadium for Kansas football games declined for the eight consecutive year since the school set an attendance record in 2008 with an average crowd of 50,907.

Roughly half as many paid to watch the Jayhawks play this past season, when KU drew 25,828, nearly 20,000 fewer fans than the next closest Big 12 team, TCU, in terms of crowd size. The Horned Frogs averaged nearly 20,000 more fans than did Kansas.

Before looking at KU attendance figures for the past nine seasons, game-by-game crowd sizes for this past season and average crowds at other schools, here are seven factors that should prevent the streak from reaching nine consecutive seasons of declining attendance at Memorial Stadium:

1 - Improved quarterback play: Juco signee Peyton Bender, who has two remaining years of eligibility, and late-season starter Carter Stanley, who has three, fit David Beaty's Air Raid offense far better than Montell Cozart and Ryan Willis.

Kansas receiver Daylon Charlot soars back to get in line during team stretches at the beginning of practice on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas receiver Daylon Charlot soars back to get in line during team stretches at the beginning of practice on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

2 - Daylon Charlot: The Alabama transfer wide receiver wowed the coaching staff with his smooth athleticism, speed and great attitude.

3 - Dominic Williams: The fast, shifty 5-foot-9, 186-pound running back from Frisco, Texas, who is verbally committed to Kansas recently was upgraded from three-star status to four-star. Running back is one of the easier positions to earn immediate playing time.

4 - Dorance Armstrong curiosity seekers: The defensive end is just halfway through his career and already became KU's first unanimous first-team All-Big 12 selection. KU football fans who stopped coming to games will want to catch a glimpse of him in person so that when he's sacking NFL quarterbacks they will be able to say, "I knew him when . . ."

5 - More size at wide receiver: LaQuvionte Gonzalez, Steven Sims and Daylon Charlot will benefit from better blocking on the perimeter, which will translate to more big plays for the primary targets. Plus, certain plays call for big, physical receivers and with Derby High's Kenyon Tabor on the way, he qualifies. He catches everything thrown near him, even if he only has one available hand to snare it. Plus, Chase Harrell showed enough to make projecting a big step forward a reasonable expectation.

6 - Four of first five games at home: If KU can make a big splash in the season opener against SEMO and the offensive highlights are impressive enough to make the masses want to turn out for the Central MIchigan game and the crowd makes a difference in tipping that game in favor of the home team, suddenly, attending KU football games could become fashionable.

7 - More experienced offensive line: It still will be the youngest in the Big 12, but with only one starter (D'Andre Banks) departing, it basically will be a year older and stronger. Plus, having decisive quarterbacks who process information quickly always makes an offensive line look better. Look what happened when Michael Cummings took over midway through the 2014 season and when Stanley took over late this past season.

KU ATTENDANCE

Year.................Avg.
2008:..........50,907
2009:..........50,581
2010:......... 44,851
2011:..........42,283
2012:..........41,329
2013:..........37,884
2014:..........34,077
2015:..........27,282
2016:..........25,828

2016 KU GAMES

Opp..............Crowd
URI:...........26,864
OHIO:........28,467
TCU:..........23,946
OSU:..........26,262
ISU:............23,757
TEXAS:......25,673

BIG 12 ATTENDANCE 2016

School.....................Avg. (games)
TEXAS.........................97,880 (6)
OKLAHOMA................86,857 (6)
TEXAS TECH...............58,250 (6)
WEST VIRGINIA...........57,583 (7)
OKLAHOMA STATE.....53,814 (7)
IOWA STATE................52,557 (7)
KANSAS STATE...........51,919 (6)
BAYLOR......................45,838 (6)
TCU.............................45,168 (7)
KANSAS......................25,828 (6)

Comments

Ryan Woods 5 months, 1 week ago

It blows my mind that KU's attendance is close to half of most Big 12 teams. Are ticket prices THAT much cheaper at Iowa State or is KU just THAT much of a basketball school?

David A. Smith 5 months, 1 week ago

I can't wait for next season. We should be competitive enough to put minor bowl talk back on the menu. Having said that, $8.00 tickets were sure nice! I'll miss those prices!

Brian Skelly 5 months, 1 week ago

If im correct, Memorial Stadium only holds about 50k. So even if we're packing the place, we'd still be near the bottom of conference. It'd still be nice to get back into filling the stadium close to capacity though. Of course winning would help that.

Buck Bukaty 5 months, 1 week ago

I'll instant-replay my previous post:

[Here's hoping that the release of a 7-game home schedule for 2017 portends as a tradeoff for Memorial Stadium upgrade construction commencing during 2018. Start the rumors!

"IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME"]

After reaching a point such that the cupboard was so bare, there is a definitive answer to the age old: "What comes first, the chicken or the egg?" The resounding answer is the Egg! For the roster the Egg is recruit, recruit, recruit ! The HC and his staff seem to have this down pat much better than most if not all predecessors, and for that we're appreciative. To maximize and perpetuate future recruiting results the nest (stadium) needs a new Egg too in the form of serious upgrades and modernization.

I'll throw in that we'll defer chickens to the Land Grant place out West. Our guys need to be the most colorful Rooster dudes strutting their stuff on Saturday afternoons!

Buck Bukaty 5 months, 1 week ago

"Excuse me, Mr., Mrs., and/or Ms. booster-types....if you happen to have any Egg money laying around doing nothing, Dr. Zenger and staff would appreciate hearing from you in order to feather the nest. Have a Merry Christmas!"

Jeff Soisson 5 months, 1 week ago

Texas Tech students get a sports pass for football as part of tuition so they don't pay anything per game (in the student section), perhaps we need to do that a few years while we continue to improve.

Michael Maris 5 months, 1 week ago

I'll be interested to see how well the stadium redesign plans are, once released.

U. of Missouri just released another announced project to reconstruct their south endzone that will house the team locker room and other facilities.

Iowa State is in the process of revitalizing their stadium. K-Sate has done numerous upgrades to their stadium and continue to do so.

Baylor built an entire new stadium, etc....

Yet, there Memorial Stadium sets season after season still looking the same. Sure, some improvements were made to the locker rooms and weight room, etc.....

But, when are the revitalization plans going to be released for the entire stadium?

Are more seats going to be included in the project?

Want recruits to WANT to see you're serious about your football program?

Then, throw as much energy and funds into your football program as has been allotted for the basketball program over the last 30 years.

Lord knows that the TV contracts supplies plenty of funding.

Gavin Fritton 5 months, 1 week ago

Another thing that would help build crowds is if KU could get out of so many 11:00AM kickoffs. I'm only speaking for myself, but I can't help but think that the early kickoff happens while a lot of students are still in bed and a lot of people who might come in from out of town can't or don't want to deal with getting up as early as an 11:00AM kickoff requires. I live in Overland Park, which isn't that far, and for an 11:00 o'clock game, the latest I can leave is 10:00, which I just hate.

I realize that we get this slot based on the desirability of the game as decided by television and that if we get better we will get better time slots, but come on. More 2:00 o'clock kickoffs would help tremendously.

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