NFL Vs. College?

Why is it that NFL stadiums on average don't seat as many people as college stadiums? Or soccer stadiums, or even cricket for crying out loud. According to wikipedia the largest NFL stadium is FedEx field of the Redskins and that's 91,704 making it 18th largest in the world. Now consider there are 8 colleges with stadiums that seat more than that. The largest being Michigan with a whopping 107,282. That's a 15,578 person difference. Imagine how much more noise 15,000 people could make. Also consider the next one down from FedEx is Giants Stadium at 80,242. A 11,462 drop off. I really don't understand. It can't be cost effective. Add 15,000 seats make the tickets less and expand the entire facility and bing there you go. I mean North Korea has a stadium that seats 150,000. North Korea for crying out loud.


Regular I understand the price point but if they built bigger stadiums they could charge less for tickets and more people would come watch. I ticket to a college game if you're a student is $30 or less. Also they are mostly students from campus you get people from all over the state and neighboring states for NFL. Not to mention it's on Sunday for the most part so no work. Whereas college is sometimes on a weekday. As for Monday night games. People would sell their child to go to a MNF game.

Update 2:

These reasons are lame. I can reason the money aspect but it's stupid and counter productive. If a franchise wants to win every home game a great way to do it is pack 100,000 screaming fans there. I was expecting to hear something I don't know like some sort of health/safety regulation or zoning law. Something of that nature but the money angel really doesn't cut it. There is no way they can't pony up the dough for at least 10-20,000 more seats and all the accommodations that go with it. I.e. restrooms, concessions, parking etc...

Update 3:

To answer your question Regular only 22 Div. I teams have stadiums that seat at least 70k.

Update 4:

They can't fill the seats cause they charge too much. More seats + less per tickets = more fans can afford to come. Then lure them into buying those $8 beers and $5 hotdogs. Pretty simple really it's what most business do. Sell what they can cheep then raise prices of everything else.

Update 5:

Cheap not cheep. Wouldn't want the spelling police to get on me.

Update 6:

Found another error. I meant that it's around $30 for non-students to get into college games. It's free for a lot of colleges to let their students in games.

Update 7:

Are you kidding me Nick B? Faster play? Harder hits? They are playing for money it's called a scholarship. All those OU players of yours are (at least the starters) are on a full ride. Not to mention their ultimate goal is to probably play in the NFL and make the big bucks. So that old, tired, ridiculous example is also lame. Did you not read the question. Your answer has nothing to do with it. LOL! You humor me.

10 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The reason the seats are the way they are is demand. The NFL can black-out games if you do not have a sellout of tickets 24 hrs from gametime. You would think that they would have no problem selling it but it is harder than you think. The teams do not want to chance losing their tv money by adding too many seats that they might not sell. Plus Pro teams get a min of 8 home games a year. The tickets are more expensive and they have the best tv deal in America.

    As for College stadiums, all the big stadiums did not start that way. Michigan started w/ a stadium around 30,000 in capacity and they grew it over the years to keep up with demand. Same with Ohio State, Tennessee, Penn State, and the rest. USC did shrink theirs a few years back, I don't remember if they opened that section back up or not. But Colleges can do this becasue (1) it was done over time (2) they play fewer home games and want to maximize profit, and (3) for most of the last century college football was a bigger deal in the nation as a whole because there wasn't any pro sports in most areas. No pro football in the south till the 60's, no pro baseball either. Fact there was very little west of the Missippi river till the 60's. So college football was at the top of the heap and tradition has kept fans coming and enlarged the stadiums. Think of this, If Notre Dame were to have just started playing football this year they probably just be a division 2 team. They are not a large university. But they are legends, they have a following, and they grew their brand and their stadium.

    And personally I would go to any college game over my favorite pro team's game every time. College football is much more enjoyable.

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    I prefer the NFL. Actually people get fooled by the really large college stadiums. College Football has a WHOLE averages 43,000 or so. The average NFL stadium is bigger than the average college stadium but there are college stadiums like most SEC stadiums, Michigan, etc that are bigger. The reason is NFL stadiums are more cozy. Many college stadiums still have bleachers. In the NFL, you have cushioned seats and more room. I would rather watch pro football than college personally. Also just because a stadium is huge, doesn't make it great. It is hard to see at some of the bigger stadiums, college and pro.

  • 1 decade ago

    Colleges have larger fan bases with alumni, students, and casual fans. The NFL relies on fairweather fans and a few diehards. Also, the goal of an NFL franchise is to make money, therefore the money spent on seats in a college stadiums will be spent on luxury boxes and amenities in an NFL stadium. Soccer and cricket fans are more like college fans in that they are more rabid about their teams plus the NFL is pricing out many fans with new PSL (Personal Seat License) rules and increasing ticket prices.

  • 1 decade ago

    Your question deals with seating. The college teams you speak of that have this large seating capacity fill up every seat, every week. These fans are die-hard. Most NFL teams don't fill the seats they have. They have to resort to blacking out the game in the local community to force the local station to buy the rest of the tickets so they have a "sellout". My experience has been that the big division 1 college teams have an easier time filling seats than NFL teams.

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  • 1 decade ago

    north korea has a stadium that seats 150000, but nothing else, so that point is null. the problem with making these massive stadiums for pro teams is the money. colleges get grants and donations from the state (for public colleges anyway) and from wealthy alumni. with all the talented football players coming from michigan, do you think they would be able to afford a stadium that big? i'd say so. a pro stadium is constructed from either money from the owner's pocket, or from taxing the local population (not good politics). plus parking is a ***** at professional facilities, whereas a lot of college stadiums are on campus and/or are within walking distance to students, who are the most frequent attendees of games.

  • Because the majority of tickets are bought by the university whereas the NFL depends on customers paying for 100%

    Also I think there are like over a 100 Division I many of them have stadiums that sit over 70K people?

    Good ?

  • 1 decade ago

    The owners do not share your business model of pricing to fit the customers price demands. Many block seat buys are made by the corporate fans to privde entertainment to the visiting guests to the companies better clendts. Or those they hope willl be

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    another reason why I love college ball over the NFL. They aren't some paid cry babys playing for money (some of them) as in college they are playing for the love of the game and they it seems they play harder at the end of the game, to represent their school.. More upsets, more tricks and gimmicks, faster paced game play, harder hits, TRUE fans... gotta love the college atmosphere...


  • 1 decade ago

    The traditional college powerhouse football programs have some seriously large stadium complexes. But when you look at their stadiums, they have been making additions to them for years and years and years. Most NFL teams would rather have a new stadium, with fewer seats overall but more skyboxes and luxury seating amenities, than lots of cheap seats.

    On average, however, your analysis is wrong. The smallest NFL stadiums will seat in the low 60,000s. But if you get away from the Big Ten, SEC, and Big 12, the stadiums get a lot smaller in the lesser conferences. Why? Because the markets for those teams are often not large enough to support a larger stadium. The MAC, for example, I believe does not have any stadiums in excess of 40,000 - except for Temple, who shares their stadium (Lincoln Field) with the Philly Eagles. And the only way Temple is going to draw more than 30,000 is to play Penn State or Pitt, by filling the stadium with the opponent's fans. (The same general analysis can go for the Sun Belt, MWC, or WAC). And we haven't even touched the I-AA schools (excuse me, Football Championship Series schools).

    Also look at some of the new construction going on in the college markets. Stanford tore down their old stadium, with the track inside the stadium, and replaced it with a cozier one on the same site - and going from 85,000 seats to about 50,000 seats. Minnesota is opening TCF Bank Field in a year or so - and it will only seat about 48,000 fans, rather than the 64.000 the Metrodome seats (and the Vikings are looking at a new stadium larger than the Metrodome). Central Florida abandoned the Citrus Bowl, seating 70,000, for an on-campus stadium that seats 45,000.

    Illinois, my alma mater, is completing a renovation of Memorial Stadium which will result in a net loss of about 5000 seats. But Illinois has had a problem for years that they can not sell out except for Michigan every other year at 69,904 seats. So they build a new student section on the north end of the horseshoe, move around the old donors, and replace the often empty seats in the upper deck with skyboxes. And the upper rows of the lower deck get replaced with another type of luxury seating options. I've been, unfortuately, to many Illini games with fewer than 45,000 fans in attendance. 20,000 empty seats does not give the team the support which it deserves. Look at the market in C-U: there is only about 100,000 residents there, not enough to really support a larger stadium. They would rather have a full stadium, with fewer people, than a bunch of empty seats.

    My other alma mater, Southern Illinois, is building a new football stadium. It will only seat about 13,000 people. Why? Because McAndrew Stadium, built originally in the late 30's with some additions, on paper could seat 17,500 or so, but the record crowd for a Saluki game is about 16,000 fans. And they regularly have to give away huge numbers of tickets just to get to the 13,000 fan level. If the stadium is too big, ticket values go down - since you have to give them away to fill the stadium, the buying customers become unhappy. And SIU has been a I-AA top ten power for the last five or six years, yet can't come close to a sell-out.

    Another Chicago example: the Blackhawks. Prior to last year, they were regularly drawing fewer than 12,000 fans to the United Center, which holds more than 20,000 people. Massive discounting, just to try and attract people to fill seats, simply irritated the full-paying regular season season ticket holders.

    Now, how about the Dallas Cowboys new stadium? It's going to seat in excess of 100,000, with space for temporary seating which could take it to 120,000 supposedly. Why? Because Dallas has decided that it want to be a focal point for the Super Bowl. A 100,000 seat modern stadium, with temporary expansion for another 20,00 cheap seats for the Super Bowl or a BCS championship, is what they want in Big D. You can easily sell 120,000 tickets for the Super Bowl. You really can't sell 120,000 tickets for every regular season game.

    And sell-outs are a key in the NFL. The NFL tv package is such that if the game is not sold out, no local tv coverage. And if there is no local tv coverage, there goes the advertising revenue from the tv package. If Illinois is playing multi-directional State U in front of 45,000 people, the game is still on tv in C-U. If the Bears don't sell out Soldier Field, the game gets blacked out on CBS or Fox in Chicago. There's a massive revenue loss. (The Bears got an exemption from the NFL when they played in C-U in 2002, as they never sold out Memorial Stadium - they were allowed to creatively cover up large chunks of seating with tarps because the "sight-lines were bad", and the upper areas of the main stands under the balcony were considered view-obstructed because of the support beams holding up the upper deck).

    A final thought. The Olympics, for 2016, required that the applicants provide an 80,000 seat plus stadium for opening and closing ceremonies, and both London for 2012 and Chicago for its 2016 proposal want "temporary" stadiums. Why? Realistically, there is little need for 80,000 seat stadiums, even with NFL or college football teams.

  • 1 decade ago

    Colleges don't have to play their players

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