2015 was the 5th highest average attendance in Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium history for Louisville Football game at 49,068.8 people in the stands per game.  With just 6 home games the season wide number is down compared to seasons with 7 home games (in 2008 the Cards had 8 at home pre-expansion).

What is most interesting is comparing Year 1 & Year 2 of Charlie Strong & Bobby Petrino:  We see the same trend.  2014, Petrino’s first season back at UofL was Louisville’s highest average attendance EVER (52,971.5) and in 2015 the Cards saw a 3902.7 drop in average attendance (49,068.8) as the Cards had a difficult start to the season starting 0-3.   From 2010 to 2011 with Louisville struggling early in 2011 from Year 1 to Year 2 of Charlie Strong the Cards went from a then all-time average high in 2010 of 50,648.1 to 48,537.5 a loss of 2110.6 off the average.  However the period of 2012-2014 saw steady increases in average attendance and despite the recent slide in 2015 they didn’t dip below the 2011 level.

Year 2 of the ACC saw a pretty limited schedule in terms of ‘fan appeal’ compared to 2014.  Year 1 of the ACC the Cards opened the season with Miami and hosted Florida State and Kentucky.  In 2015 the Cards hosted Clemson and did host undefeated Houston, but the buzz on Houston now is much different than when they visited in the 2nd week of the season.  Boston College, Syracuse, and Virginia didn’t inspire the natives quite like it would have during the C-USA, Big East, and AAC schedules.  And it rained off & on throughout the Boston College game, the lowest attendance of 2015, whereas 2014 benefited from fabulous weather throughout.  Lastly, UofL played 4 of its 6 games in 2015 in the noon TV window.

In 2016 the Cardinals schedule is LOADED Florida State, Duke, North Carolina State, and Kentucky are the highlights.  The Cards also open with a low-profile opponent in Charlotte, but the opener is always well-attended despite the opponent.  The Cards also host Wake Forest mid-November in a game that may be SUPER important despite the profile of the opponent. Still just 6 home games, but the Cards may be able to take a run at the all-time record.

SUMMATION

With Louisville only having played two seasons EVER in the ACC, Louisville fans have a demonstrated appetite for football.  With continued traditions, an increase in profile, and an annually enhanced schedule that appeals to fans, the expansion announced in August makes sense.  Particularly when taking into account that Louisville has sold out each of its luxury boxes for the past two seasons, has a waiting list for both season tickets and club level seating. The University is most certainly doing the right thing by “Closing the Bowl” and allowing the football fanbase an avenue to expand.

2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010
50019 55428 55332 55386 46157 55327
55396 50179 53647 47553 47228 51427
50121 51463 51586 53334 53267 48427
41486 50227 55168 50167 48435 55106
46158 55414 55215 53271 44817 48591
51233 55118 53027 44609 51321 43887
46421 45618 51772
Total 294413 317829 370396 349938 291225 354537
Average 49068.8 52971.5 52913.7 49991.1 48537.5 50648.1
  2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004
  39344 42696 42185 42597 42647 42681
  39948 38694 40882 42704 40219 40220
  37268 42208 40922 41549 41334 42032
  21497 42523 40894 43217 42692 40107
  33223 38319 34792 40348 41219 37617
  23422 40384 39612 38476 37896  –
  37822  –
  34796  –
Total 194702 317442 239287 248891 246007 202657
Average 32450.3 39680.3 39881.2 41481.8 41001.2 40531.4
2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998
40205 42660 38129 42510 38147 42643
38489 38109 35214 41227 40332 38231
40432 34127 39256 38121 41214 35479
38119 32428 39389 39233 33879 39247
30114 36253 33627 38024 27261 32649
33268 35261 40479 30387 34786 40349
 – 40328 41826
 –
Total 220627 218838 226094 269830 257445 228598
Average 36771.2 36473 37682.3 38547.1 36777.9 38099.7
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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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