Baylor football struggled with a 1-win campaign in 2017. Nonetheless, the attendance figures on Saturdays in Waco, Texas, are still miles ahead of where they once were.
Reddit user u/I0waNative compared the 2003 and 2017 attendances for every Power 5 college football team, plus independent Notre Dame. Of all the programs, the Bears owned the largest increase in attendance, up 46.83 percent from the 2003 campaign.
On average, Baylor saw 43,830 fans file into McLane Stadium on game days during the 2017 season. It was a 4.38 percent decline from the 2016 average of 45,838 fans per home game, but enough to give the Bears the above designation. The 2003 season saw Baylor draw an average of 29,851 fans per game at the team’s former home of Floyd Casey Stadium.
Of course, many factors have gone into the increase in attendance for Baylor football. McLane Stadium, which opened in 2014, has a listed capacity of 45,140 fans for football (in addition to a grass seating area behind the south end zone). While smaller than Floyd Casey Stadium’s listed capacity of 50,000 for football, the new stadium on the Brazos River combined with 10-win campaigns in 2014 and 2015 has helped draw fans on Saturdays.
To put things in perspective, Baylor went 3-9 in 2003. At that point, the Bears hadn’t posted a winning season since going 7-4 in 1995 and wouldn’t finish above .500 until going 7-6 in 2010.
With a season of growing pains behind them, coach Matt Rhule and the Bears hope the 2018 campaign sees more wins — and more fans at McLane Stadium to cheer the team.
Baylor begins the season at home against Abilene Christian on Sept. 1.