Colleges and Universities are addressing their sports schedules in light of government health regulations regarding large gatherings. Of course, college football is one of the biggest stages for events with many venues holding more than 100,000 fans—on a good day.
It’s unlikely there will be many good days this football season, even as more than half of the 39 schools represented in the SEC, Big 12, and ACC have committed to fielding football teams. Pandemic regulations have limited attendance to 25 or 30 percent of capacity, and that’s in the best cases. The Boston College Eagles still have not received permission from the Massachusetts state advisory board to host any fans at Alumni Stadium before October first, and the ban could extend beyond that. At Texas A & M, where Kyle Field can accommodate 102,733 spectators, the school is planning on 30-percent capacity. Home crowds for many college football games are expected to range from 10,000 to 25,000.
All of this means a huge loss of ticket sales for schools this season, and they are coming up with inventive ways to recoup revenue, taking their cues from the MLB and NBA games.
Some teams are exploring the idea of filling seats with cardboard cutouts using fan-submitted images, while others are looking at covering empty seats with tarps adorned with advertiser logos and images.
Some schools are using apps to heighten fan engagement as well as revenue through purchases of merchandise and food.
Still other programs are exploring ideas for an augmented experience in the stadium for the fans who watch the game in person.