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Fan Attendance at Casey Stadium Declines, After Opening Night Boom

Photo Credit: UAlbany Athletics

By Nicholas Lazaro | December 13, 2021

UAlbany students and supporters flooded Casey Stadium for the first home football game this season to fill almost every seat, but the team has had to play before a sparse crowd ever since their losing streak.

The Great Danes started with eight consecutive losses and finished the season with a final record of 2-9. Their two victories were home games, leaving them at 0-6 on the road and 2-5 at Casey Stadium.

The 2021 season was the Great Danes’ second consecutive season with a losing record. They finished the 2020 season 1-3 before the season was cut short due to the pandemic. They finished the short 2020 season losing in overtime at home, with no fan attendance due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The first game of the Great Danes’ season on Sept. 11 saw the stadium filled to 96% of its capacity with 8,144, over half of them being Albany students. The game against Rhode Island was officially the first sporting event that allowed fans to attend since the COVID-19 shutdown.

Dylan Masterson, a UAlbany sophomore, said that although he had never been a big “sports fan,” he took this opportunity to participate in a social event due to the “lack of face-to-face interaction during the shutdown.”

The COVID-19 shutdown led to a lack of social events for UAlbany students. Opening night for the Great Danes was one of the first full-capacity events on campus this year. It provided a great opportunity for students to gather together.

But Casey Stadium would not reach the same capacity for the rest of the season. At the next home game against Villanova on Oct. 16, the number of fans reached 7,131, but student ticket sales dropped 50% to 2,576, according to Athletics sales data.

The decline in attendees from opening night at Casey Stadium to the season’s second game was only 1,000 fans. The concern in attendance came from the student population, as nearly half the amount of students attended. Students were not as interested anymore, leading to questions raised regarding the marketing for the football games.

The Athletics department declined several attempts by the ASP for an interview about the decline or what plans the department has for marketing. According to the UAlbany 2021 budget, the Athletics Department has a $1.2 million loss.

The shutdown of campus and cancellation of sports led to a loss of money in the Athletics department budget. This loss could contribute to the amount of marketing provided for the Great Danes.

According to sales data, the last three home games of the season had a total of 8,154 attendees, of which 1,600 were students. That number is less than the number of students who attended opening night.

The attendance suffered in the last three home games. The Great Danes did not have the same support they had on opening night. The total number of students who attended the last three home games was less than the number of students who attended opening night.

The Great Danes ended their season at Casey Stadium with a win against Morgan State. The game, held on Senior Night on Nov 13, was the lowest attended game, with only 2,077 people in attendance and 258 students.

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