Morgantown, W.Va. has earned the nickname of Touchdown City for its ability to pack the place on WVU football game days.
That’s still the case as Milan Puskar Stadium at Mountaineer Field fills up with fans, the structure becomes the single largest city in the state of West Virginia. Even when attendance is not a sellout in the 60,000 seat stadium, it is still the biggest as the population of the state capital of Charleston is 50,821, according to citydata.com.
This past football season, West Virginia’s home attendance dipped below the 55,00-mark for the second time since 2004. In 2012, the Mountaineers first year in the Big 12, WVU averaged just over 52,000 fans per game.
The numbers were better this year, despite a four-game losing streak in October, as the Mountaineers averaged 54,826 fans per game, according to CBSSports. That number is actually brought down a bit, anyway, because of the final regular season home game against Iowa State. It was played two days after Thanksgiving, when students were still on break and the residence halls were closed. So, only 42,446 came out for the win against the Cyclones.
That brought down the season average, which included two sellouts.
In all, the Mountaineers ranked No. 36 in total attendance, which isn’t a terrible place to be, considering they are ahead of programs like Arizona State, Stanford and, of course, Pitt.
The Big 12 as a whole averaged 56,831 fans per game, a drop of one percent from last season. It was the conference’s smallest attendance number since 2005.
Also dropping for consecutive seasons are the number of season tickets being sold for WVU football. The record number of season ticket sales was 38,200 in 2008, when the Mountaineers began the season ranked in the Top 5 and were coming off a win over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.
Now, the number hovers just above 30,000. That could go even lower if the Mountaineers have another mundane season in 2016. A win in the Cactus Bowl against Arizona State could boost morale heading into the season and help give the casual a fan a reason to stick with the program that has been trending downward since the Orange Bowl win in 2012.