Attendance at WCU football home games an issue

Western Carolina University hosted its’ annual Family week football game Saturday night, Oct. 1.

The stadium was packed with fans, but after the half time show the fans started to leave the game. It is a common theme at most Western Carolina football games.

“I don’t have the exact number but the family section stays the whole game and maybe 30% or less of the student and visitor seating [stayed]. And most people who left were Western fans. I think that is because the visiting team traveled so far they might as well stay,” said Kara Burian, a gate monitor for last Saturday’s game. She added that a majority of the fans left at halftime.

The purple and gold spirit seemed to be gone by the start of the third quarter. A majority of the people made their way out of the stadium, leaving a less enthused crowed.

Saturday’s game was the second home game that Western Carolina held this season. The first game was against Mars Hill, a game that WCU won. The attendance outcome was similar to last Saturday’s game. Students and others attended only the first half and left after halftime, despite the game being close at the half. The stadium during the Mars Hills game had a smaller attendance than Saturday’s.

“I think people enjoy watching close games, or winning teams, so people would stay longer if we could keep the games’ [score] closer.  With the preconception that we will lose makes people leave.  It’s not a good thing but it is true,” said Nathan White, a senior student at Western Carolina and a spectator at the game, who was disappointed with WCU losing many of their home games in the past.

Attendance has suffered at WCU football games the last few seasons, with the average of around 7,000 in attendance for the start of the game and an average of half that once the fourth quarter begins.  The stadium holds about 13,000 people.

The game on Saturday was far from close as the home team, WCU, was down by 20 points at halftime. Western Carolina dropped to 1-3 as they loss to Furman 47-21.