|Team||2012 Average||2011 Average||Change/Game||Percent Change/Game|
Interestingly, fans of the conference’s two newest members had dramatically different reactions to their new digs – while TCU saw a 37 percent increase in average attendance, West Virginia observed a one percent decline. The most obvious reason for TCU’s increase was a substantial renovation that expanded capacity – 46,000 fans couldn’t fit in the Frogs’ home stadium last year. However, the program also enjoyed significantly greater excitement with its move to a BCS school. West Virginia, on the other hand, went from the creme de la creme of another (though lesser) BCS conference to a mediocre member of the Big 12. It can be hard to stomach a 4-5 conference record when you’re used to taking home conference titles and playing in BCS bowl games.
Proximity likely played a factor in the two stories. West Virginia is thousands of miles from its conference foes, and not many fans are making the drive from Manhattan to Morgantown. However, TCU is located within the heart of Big 12 country and is a doable road trip for citizens of Oklahoma and Texas (and resides close to the Dallas/Fort Worth airport if you’re crazy enough about Horned Frogs football to fly in).
As always, success was the best predictor of change in attendance. K-State was a little better this year, and attendance improved a little bit. Ditto for Texas Tech. Oklahoma State was a little worse, and attendance declined a smidge. And as always, Texas led the pack with SEC-like numbers in its oversized stadium. Renovations on Bill Snyder Stadium are ongoing, but don’t expect enough seats to house 100,000 people any time soon.