Despite adding on the North End Zone grandstand, suite and loge areas in 2018 Cardinal Stadium’s attendance for Louisville Football home games was an average of 50,250.7 per game. There was the unfortunate luck of the deluge of the 1st home game of the season vs. Indiana State essentially washing out any chance of a good opening crowd in the new expanded stadium. But as the season wore on the attendance from Cards fans continued to slip as did the play on the field.

Cardinal Stadium fell short of a capacity crowd by an average of 10,750 in 2018 as could be expected in a 2-10 season. The expansion however, can explain the ‘bump’ in attendance numbers overall as UofL averaged just 46,159.5 fans in 2017 (with Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson playing his final season at UofL). The Cards fell just 8,840.5 fans short per game in 2017 so while the overall attendance number did actually expand in 2018 thanks to expansion so did too the % of available capacity.

The Western Kentucky Football match-up was the highest attended game in 2018 at 54,923 and is the 15th highest attended game in school history (again expansion will shift some facts as we move forward). But Louisville also played its first game of the season at a neutral site as is the trend in college football and the Cards lost to Alabama.


20182017201620152014
4452055588531275001955428
5492347812556325539650179
5279847826551215012151463
5165844679552184148650227
4960346787512184615855414
4826534265540755123355118
49988
Total351755276957324391294413317829
Average50250.746159.554065.249068.852971.5
2013201220112010
55332553864615755327
53647475534722851427
51586533345326748427
55168501674843555106
55215532714481748591
53027446095132143887
464214561851772
Total370396349938291225354537
Average52913.7149991.1448537.550648.14
2009200820072006
39344426964218542597
39948386944088242704
37268422084092241549
21497425234089443217
33223383193479240348
23422403843961238476
37822
34796
Total194702317442239287248891
Average32450.3339680.2539881.1741481.83
2005200420032002
42647426814020542660
40219402203848938109
41334420324043234127
42692401073811932428
41219376173011436253
37896 –3326835261
Total246007202657220627218838
Average41001.1740531.436771.1736473
2001200019991998
38129425103814742643
35214412274033238231
39256381214121435479
39389392333387939247
33627380242726132649
40479303873478640349
4032841826
Total226094269830257445228598
Average37682.3338547.1436777.8638099.67

Attendance Slipping Nationally

Attendance around college football dipped sharply beginning with the 2017 season. A sport built around television might have finally found its in-person saturation point. FBS attendance remained at 37,000,000+ for a period of 10 years from 2007-2016 but then fell back to levels not seen since the 2006 season. Many programs expanded their stadiums during this era to accommodate for the growing crowds, but now many schools are looking at retractions of capacity and focusing on more premium areas (Alabama, Kentucky, etc.).

CFB TotalFBS
201049,670,89537,678,722
201149,699,41937,411,795
201248,958,54737,170,235
201350,291,27538,135,118
201449,604,38237,913,238
201549,057,96637,957,921
201649,315,85738,073,667
201747,622,19636,632,625
201846,984,72036,707,511

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@UofLSheriff50. Louisville native, University of Louisville Business School Grad c/o 2004. Co-Founder of TheCrunchZone.com

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