College football attendance topped 50 million for the first time in 2013 as the number of NCAA schools playing the sport continued to grow. The 657 schools in the NCAA who sponsor football (13 more than in 2012) drew 50,291,275 fans at home games, neutral-site games and postseason contests last season to break the mark of 49,699,419 set in 2011.
With an average of 45,671 per game, the Football Bowl Subdivision drew a record 38,135,118 fans. The Football Championship Subdivision totaled 6,238,740 fans, while Division II attracted 2,985,610 spectators. Division III also recorded an all-time high with 2,465,231 total fans.
The Southeastern Conference, which led all FBS conferences in average attendance for the past 16 seasons, enjoyed another record-setting year. The SEC set an all-time, all-conference record of 7,567,406 fans in 2013.
Michigan’s average of 111,592 fans at its seven home contests led the nation for its 16th consecutive attendance title. The two other programs that topped the 100,000 include Ohio State at 104,933, and Alabama at 101,505.
Overall, the SEC attendance averaged 75,674 per game to lead all conferences. The Big Ten averaged 70,431, the Big 12 averaged 58,899, the Pac-12 averaged 53,619 and the Atlantic Coast Conference averaged 49,982 to round out the top five in conference attendance.