How many sellout crowds will visit Neyland Stadium in 2014?

At least one. That’s because 102,455 was the official count for Sunday night’s opener. Significant? Indeed, because it was the first sellout crowd for a season opener at Neyland Stadium since 2007.

I think it is a barometer for the health of the program.

Neyland_Stadium_full

So, to today’s question…

It is difficult to answer because it depends on some important factors: (1) W-L record; (2) Opponent; and (3) Starting time. When we win, the people come. When we play one of the hated big boys, the people come. And when we start games at noon, not as many people come. The last factor is unpredictable because the networks run the show and look at the first two factors to determine kickoff times.

The students seem to be in to the Vols big time right now, which is a significant additional factor. High-definition television, with a comfortable couch and easy-to-get-to food/drink/bathroom doesn’t help.

Nonetheless, here are the remaining home games, with asterisks (***) for my predictions for sellouts…

  • Arkansas State
  • Florida***
  • Chattanooga
  • Alabama***
  • Kentucky
  • Missouri

What say you?

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7 responses to “How many sellout crowds will visit Neyland Stadium in 2014?”

  1. Rick says :

    I read that they are 6,000 short for Arkansas State.

  2. TK says :

    Im with you on your prediction Fred. I think the SEC network will begin to empty the stadiums. The trend had already started in my opinion. HDTV, many more games being televised, alcohol available at home. concession prices………it all empties todays stadiums

    • Fred says :

      TK, I’ve often wondered if UT plans to replace more and more benches with seats. This would decrease capacity which means prices would have to go up, perhaps significantly.

  3. rockytop78 says :

    I agree with your predictions about Florida and Alabama being sellouts; although depending on how the season is going for both us and them, I could see Mizzou coming close as well.

    Your remark about the ease of access to the HD-TV and beer/bathroom is also right on the mark. A good friend with whom I used to go to the games gave up his season tickets last year because he bought a 70″ flat screen plasma television, and told me that he could see the games better on his new TV than he could at Neyland, that he didn’t have to fight the crowds and deal with traffic, and he could get up and get a beer whenever he wanted.

    I heard Dave Hart address this general matter (declining attendance at Neyland) a couple of years ago. He said that it wasn’t that important, as far as income was concerned, to fill up Neyland every football Saturday; he said that if UT could keep at 70,000 people in the seats, that would be okay by him (and I am paraphrasing his remarks as I remember them).

    I hope that it doesn’t get to the point of some soccer stadiums in Europe (?), where so few people go to the actual games, as opposed to watching them on television, that the teams have started putting up large sheets to screen off the empty seats from the television cameras (or to keep the soccer players from seeing just how few people are actually attending the games).

    • Fred says :

      If Knox County goes ahead with their withdrawl of their portion of the amusement tax that they collect from UT for games (the City intends to continue collecting its share), I wonder if the savings will be transferred to the consumer, enticing more sellouts. I doubt it.

      • rockytop78 says :

        To quote Big Dan from the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou: “It’s all about the money, boys!”

        I’m not holding my breath about any potential rebates, either.

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