Only consistent winning can lift Tulane football attendance

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Tyjae Spears
(Photo: Parker Waters)

Before an announced crowd of more than 20,000, Tulane missed a golden opportunity against the Golden Eagles of Southern Mississippi.

Not only to stay unbeaten, but to impress before a large sample size. The loss certainly gnawed at head coach Willie Fritz.

“Oh, they all eat at me,” said Fritz. “The losses stick with me. I have to flush them out my system, takes a little while. That is not a good trait, but unfortunately, it is the one I got.”

The result was not what the Green Wave desired, but the crowd for the game was something Tulane needs to replicate. The only way to do that is with a consistent winner.

Not a club that wins 5 or 6 games every year, but a football program that wins 8 or 9 games on a semi-consistent basis. In other words, do something that has never been done at Tulane University before.

Tulane’s league, the American Athletic Conference, does not have the draw of a Power 5 league. It just doesn’t and it won’t anytime soon.

Let’s compare the 2022 home schedule with the 1975 home schedule, the first year the Green Wave played in the Louisiana Superdome. Tulane’s home slate back then was Ole Miss, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech, Air Force, North Carolina and LSU.

The Ole Miss game drew 50,500 to Poydras Street. The Georgia Tech game had an announced attendance of 63,333.

The smallest home crowd of the season was 29,850 in November for the University of North Carolina.

This year’s home schedule is UMass, Alcorn State, Southern Miss, East Carolina, Memphis, Central Florida and SMU.

The drop off is substantial.

Television is another issue. While the revenue from the American’s deal with ESPN pumps millions into the athletic programs, it also hurts the live gate.

The weather for the Southern Miss game was, for late September in New Orleans, quite comfortable.

What happens if the weather was inclement? You lose any walk up crowd, because they can stay home and watch the game on television.

Tulane has done its best to improve its non-conference home schedule in the future. Ole Miss is scheduled to come to Yulman Stadium in 2023 and Kansas State visits in 2024.

A year later, Northwestern University and Duke will play Tulane at Yulman.

Victories against any of those schools would do a lot to raise the Green Wave’s football profile.

The loss to two-touchdown underdog Southern Miss was untimely, but the energy in the stadium Saturday night was good to see and feel.

Now is beyond time to replicate that.

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Ed Daniels

WGNO Sports Director/106.1 FM

Ed is a New Orleans native, born at Baptist Hospital. He graduated Rummel High School, class of 1975, and subsequently graduated from Loyola University. Ed started in TV in 1977 as first sports intern at WVUE Channel 8. He became Sports Director at KPLC TV Channel 7 in Lake Charles in 1980. In 1982 he was hired as sports reporter…

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