Through a recently conducted market research project, my partner and I studied many different factors that might influence a student's opinion to attend the home varsity football games at Kalamazoo College this past season of 2010. From this research, we discovered that 66% of Kalamazoo College students attended varsity football games while in high school; yet also found that only 41% of current Kalamazoo College students attended at least one varsity football game this past season.
So what makes the difference between attending games while in high school and then in college? A mere 5% of students claimed that the weather forecast held a strong opinion towards their attendance. Only 8% of students reported attending games in the case that a friend attended the particular rival school. 10% of the respondents mentioned that their close friends encouraging them to attend a game held a strong influence on their choice. 19% of the respondents suggested that the availability of free food strongly influenced their decision to attend a game. But the question still remains. What makes this 20% decline in football attendance of the same group of students between high school and college? 10% of the sample strongly agreed that the time of the football game conflicted with other activities and 72% of the students strongly argued that they did not know the schedule of the home team.
From the advertising specs, we found that the only reliable way to spread awareness of the games was through the talk of friends. As mentioned before, 72% claimed to not know the home schedule. But also, 87% claimed they did not hear of the game through Facebook, 84% did not see a sign in the cafeteria, and 83% did not have one of the small cardboard cards with the seasonal sports schedule listed on it (posted by the college). But 58% knew of the game because a friend had informed them of the game. Moreover, 72% of the respondents agreed that they were more likely to attend a game if the stands were expected to be more full. So students, if you want higher attendance rates, start talking!
Thus, my final remark between the characteristics of high school and college attendance rates from the same group of people concludes here. Perhaps these students still fathom the idea of exciting football games that they remember from high school, but perhaps they are now exploring other dimensions of life as well. Is sport marketing the excuse for poor attendance or do students just spend their time pursuing new interests instead?
After sending 300 mostly randomly selected surveys by email, our final number concluded to 83 finished surveys (the “mostly” part of the random is explained here: we dispatched the unfinished surveys from the final sample, we eliminated the varsity football team from the sample, and all Juniors were not surveyed as we had no differentiated list between the roughly 80% on study abroad and the 20% who were on campus during the last season).