Despite an increase in wins from the 2011 to 2012 season, it looks like Mississippi State's home football attendance numbers dipped in 2012. Well, dipped ever so slightly.
Yesterday, AL.com released the full attendance numbers for every FBS football team for 2012. Included in those figures was MSU's 2012 average of 55,628 fans per game. When you compare that to the 2011 attendance average of 55,949 for State, that means attendance fell by about 300 fans this season.
What could be the cause? Most likely it's the draw of matchups that State had at home in 2011 vs. 2012. The 2011 home football season featured a big Thursday night game versus LSU (56,924), as well as matchups against Top 10 opponents Alabama (57,871) and South Carolina, as well as the Egg Bowl. Additionally, three of MSU's four biggest home games last season (LSU, Alabama, Ole Miss) were night games, which generally draw better crowds. In 2012, three of MSU's four biggest home games were day games (Day: Auburn, Texas A&M, Arkansas. Night: Tennessee)
Since Dan Mullen arrived on campus after the 2008 season, attendance at Davis Wade Stadium is up by 12,175 fans per game. It will be interesting to see where the attendance numbers come in for the 2013 season, as construction will most likely impact the capacity for that season. The north endzone bleachers where removed the day after the Arkansas game, and it is unclear if any usable seating will be constructed by the season home opener against Alcorn State on Saturday, September 7th. I wouldn't expect their to be any usable seating in the north endzone for 2013, but I'm not really aware of the construction schedule and if that was a required benchmark for the winning bidder to achieve. Most likely, Davis Wade will be just a tad bit cozier in 2013.
The 2014 season will see capacity at Davis Wade Stadium swell to 61,337 - an addition of 6,255 new seats - with the new north endzone expansion. With the current demands for season tickets and the trend of attendance increases since 2008, I would expect average attendance numbers to be at or at or slightly above the new capacity when MSU's new expanded Davis Wade Stadium officially opens on August 31, 2014, against Southern Mississippi.