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Bryant-Denny Stadium, home of the Alabama Crimson Tide. Photo: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

College football attendance dipped to its lowest mark in 22 years last season, with every Power 5 conference other than the ACC experiencing a decline.

The big picture: This alarming development is driven by numerous factors, many of which impact society on a macro-level and are out of a university's control (i.e. technology and consumption habits). But other factors — like ticket sales, game day experiences and stadium amenities — can be tinkered with and improved, and athletic departments across the country are laser-focused on doing just that.

General changes:

  • Improved sales teams: Schools are beefing up their previously understaffed ticketing departments and deploying more aggressive tactics (via email marketing, ad retargeting, etc.).
  • Alcohol policies: The Southeastern Conference recently passed a rule that allows its members to sell alcohol at games.
  • Downsizing: Over the past few years, the trend in not only college football stadiums but all sports has shifted from quantity (attendance numbers) to quality (fan experience).

Specific examples:

  • Alabama is rolling out a program to reward students who stick around through the fourth quarter. How it works: Students who "check in" on an app to confirm they're still in the stadium will receive bonus points that will help their standing regarding future tickets.
  • Tennessee is testing something called the Vol Pass, which guarantees fan seats all season but doesn't lock them into one seat or section. Fans log into an app every Monday to pick their seats for the coming Saturday.

What they're saying:

"I went to a Disney seminar one time and they said, 'What do you think is the goal that we aspire for Disney?' You sit there and scratch your head and you think, 'To make people happy?' They told us no — it was to get you to come back to your next visit. That's really what we have to be motivated by ... That's what's driving a lot of us."
— Kenny Mossman, Oklahoma's senior associate athletics director, to The Athletic

Go deeper: Attendance woes were inevitable

Go deeper

Tech scrambles to derail inauguration threats

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech companies are sharing more information with law enforcement in a frantic effort to prevent violence around the inauguration, after the government was caught flat-footed by the Capitol siege.

Between the lines: Tech knows it will be held accountable for any further violence that turns out to have been planned online if it doesn't act to stop it.

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Uganda's election: Museveni declared winner, Wine claims fraud

Wine rejected the official results of the election. Photo: Sumy Sadruni/AFP via Getty

Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner of a sixth presidential term on Saturday, with official results giving him 59% to 35% for Bobi Wine, the singer-turned-opposition leader.

Why it matters: This announcement was predictable, as the election was neither free nor fair and Museveni had no intention of surrendering power after 35 years. But Wine — who posed a strong challenged to Museveni, particularly in urban areas, and was beaten and arrested during the campaign — has said he will present evidence of fraud. The big question is whether he will mobilize mass resistance in the streets.

Off the Rails

Episode 1: A premeditated lie lit the fire

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 1: Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated. He had heard about the “red mirage” — the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies — and he decided to exploit it.

"Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”