University Park, PA, United States (4E Sports) – For the fifth straight year, Penn State football games have suffered a drop in attendance, averaging just 96,730 fans per game this season at Beaver Stadium.
The average was the lowest at Beaver Stadium since a $93 million expansion was completed in 2001 that added some 13,000 seats and brought capacity to more than 107,000.
Despite this, the Nittany Lions will finish fifth in the country in average attendance behind Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama and Texas.
From an average of 101,427 in 2011, this season’s drop was also the biggest, perhaps due to the child-sexual abuse scandal involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
The scandal resulted in sanctions, including the team’s postseason ineligibility this season and the following three seasons.
In 2007, the team drew an average of 108,917 fans, 108,254 in 2008, 107,008 in 2009 and 104,234 in 2010.
The stadium capacity was reduced from 107,282 seats to 106,572 in 2011 to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Despite sanctions and exodus of players, Penn State finished the season a respectable 8-4 under first-year coach Bill O’Brien, with a 24-21 overtime victory against Wisconsin Saturday.