Every prominent collegiate football team in Missouri showed their lowest homecoming attendance over four years in the same year.
In 2017, Missouri State, Mizzou, Northwest Missouri State and Southeast Missouri State showed record low numbers at their homecoming games.
But then 2019 came around.
In 2019, Missouri State, Northwest and SEMO had the lowest homecoming game attendance in five years.
There doesn’t seem to be a pattern between schools but definitely a pattern within schools.
Missouri State’s attendance seems directly related to the weather. Bears fans are fair-weather fans. In 2018, 2016 and 2015, Missouri State had great attendance numbers when the temperature was above 60, recording 12,109, 12,369 and 14,212, respectively. When the weather was less than great, the Bears didn’t have good turnouts, showing just 6,583 fans in 2019 during the cold, rainy weather and 8,732 attendees during 2017’s 43-degree game.
In 2019, the Bears had a losing record overall (1-5) and a losing record at home (0-2) going into the homecoming game, while also coming off a loss to a ranked team — No. 1 North Dakota State. The same holds true for the other low-attendance year: 2017. That year going into the homecoming game, Missouri State had a losing record overall (1-6) and a losing record at home (1-2). The Bears had just come off a loss to ranked No. 13 South Dakota State.
For MSU’s foe up north, Mizzou’s homecoming attendance rises when they play a successful, well-known program. Mizzou played Ole Miss in 2019 and 62,621 fans showed up. In 2015 when Mizzou played ranked No. 11 Florida, 70,767 people were in attendance.
NWMSU, though, has a better turnout at homecoming games when the opponent has a winning record. In 2019 and 2017, Bearcat attendance was low when the opposing team was coming in with a losing record.
NWMSU played Lincoln (1-6) in 2019 and Lindenwood (2-5) in 2017. During the 2018, 2016 and 2015 homecoming games, the Bearcats opponents had winning records coming in to the matchup.
SEMO’s attendance numbers don’t show any correlation. In 2019, the Redhawks had very low attendance numbers, yet the team is undefeated at home. SEMO didn’t have a great turnout in 2017, either, but it was a sunny 83 degrees, and the team was coming off a win.
In the last five years, both Mizzou and NWMSU have generated attendance higher than their enrollment numbers while Missouri State and SEMO were unable to do so.
Missouri State has the lowest average percentage of attendance based on their enrollment. MSU’s attendance is less than half of their student enrollment. SEMO’s homecoming game attendance is just over half of their student population, on average. Northwest’s attendance is about 1 ¼ of their enrollment, while Mizzou’s attendance at homecoming games, on average, is almost double their student population.
Based on Missouri State’s population, the Bears should be second in attendance behind the Tigers. Instead, they rank last of these four well-known football programs in Missouri.