BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) is still number one in attendance for football games.
The SWAC remained the top-attended conference in the NCAA Div.-I Football Championship Series (FCS) for the 2016 season with a total reaching 678,355.
As a league, the SWAC averaged 14,132 in attendance in its 48 home football games, an increase in average of 1,309 per contest.
The Missouri Valley Conference were next in attendance as it drew an average of 11,095 in its 61 home games. The SWAC outnumbered the MVC by over 1,500 in total attendance despite playing in 13 fewer contests.
The Big Sky ranked third with an average of 9,719.
The SWAC has been the FCS leader in attendance in 38 of the previous 39 years and its most highly attended games did not factor into the figures. The Magic City Classic between Alabama A&M and Alabama State drew over 70,000 fans at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala., the Bayou Classic drew 67,845 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La., and the State Fair Classic between Grambling State and Prairie View A&M drew 53,182 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, TX.
Five schools from the SWAC ranked in the top 20 with Jackson State ranking fourth in attendance among FCS schools (19,660) followed by Grambling State (16,335) in 10th, Alcorn State (14,343) in 13th, Southern (13,678) in 16th and Prairie View A&M (12,194) in 18th.
The SWAC also saw the greatest increase in average attendance (1,309) among all Division I schools including FBS conferences.
The SWAC Championship between Alcorn State and Grambling State drew 24,917 to NRG Stadium in Houston, TX.