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Football attendance matters
The Florida Classic moved back atop the list of highest attended games in black college football in 2009 but perhaps because of a depressed economic climate, attendance was down at most of the top games (See STAT CORNER).
The traditional late November (Nov. 21st) matchup of Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman in Orlando's Citrus Bowl drew 59,418 fans, slightly down from the 60,612 that attended the 2008 game but good enough to top the list. The Florida Classic was second a year ago.
The Magic City Classic, the game that topped the list the last two seasons and set records in each, fell to second drawing 55,322 to the Oct. 3, 2009 matchup of Alabama's two HBCU state schools, Alabama State and Alabama A&M. The MCC drew 69,113 in 2008.
The Bayou Classic held on to third place drawing 53,618 to the New Orleans Super Dome for the Nov. 28 Grambling State vs. Southern game. Last year's BC drew 59,874.
The only top game that saw its attendance increase this year was the Sept. 26th Atlanta Classic at the Georgia Dome that drew 51,950, slightly up from the 50,428 that attended the 2008 game that pits Tennessee State against Florida A&M. The Atlanta Classic was fourth this season after finishing seventh a year ago.
Seven games drew over 50,000 a year ago. Only the top four made that number this season.
The Southern Heritage Classic (Sept. 13, Jackson State vs. Tennessee State) moved from sixth last year to fifth this year despite having a dropoff from 50,794 to 43,306 this season.
The State Fair Classic (Oct. 3, Prairie View A&M vs. Grambling) was sixth with 42,786 fans for its annual matchup at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. The same game drew 54,315 in 2008.
The Chicago Classic jumped into the top ten this year drawing 42,600 to Soldier's Field for this year's Sept. 26 Mississippi Valley State/Alabama State game.
There were 27 HBCU games that topped 20,000 fans this year as opposed to 30 last season. Those games this season drew 857,976 fans, an averaged of 31,776 per game.
Homecomings were also down in attendance this year. Tuskegee again topped the list with 28,973 that packed into the Abbott Stadium for its Nov. 7 contest vs. Stillman. Southern drew 24,600 to its homecoming this year vs. Fort Valley State to finish second. Morehouse (23,123), Tennessee State (22,092) and North Carolina A&T (21,500) rounded out the top five.
© 2009 Azeez Communications, Inc.