The NFL is the king of television, but college football is once again unrivaled in terms of actually seeing a football game with one’s own eyes.
The National Football Foundation on Wednesday released a report detailing television and attendance figures for college football in 2015. The highlights:
– All NCAA football games — from Division III regular season to the CFP National Championship — drew a total of 49,057,966 fans.
– FBS regular season games drew a total of 37,957,921 spectators, followed by FCS with 5,571,456, Division II at 3,003,019, and Division III at 2,357,469.
– The SEC was the nation’s highest-attended conference at 78,630 fans per game, but the Big Ten, American (granted, in just its second year of existence), Sun Belt and Big South set attendance records.
– After its 40-season attendance streak was snapped in 2014, Michigan again won the national attendance crown at 110,168 fans per game.
– Montana won the FCS title (24,139 fans per game), Grand Valley State claimed Division II (12,365), and St. John’s (Minn.) took Division III (7,625).
Subtracting postseason attendance figures — 1.8 million people attended bowl games, and a tick over a quarter-million crossed the turnstiles at the FCS playoffs — roughly 3.3 million people attended a college football game on a typical autumn Saturday last fall. Compare that to the roughly 1.1 million people attending NFL games every Sunday, assuming all stadiums are full.