Even amid a string of disappointing seasons, Texas football is continuing to produce some of the best attendance numbers in all of college football.
The Longhorns ranked 8th in attendance during the 2017 season, with more than 92,000 fans filing into Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on average during gamedays. But that’s far from a capacity crowd at the DKR, and the numbers have been declining from what they were not long ago.
Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte, who arrived to the school last December, is on a mission to change that.
Per the Austin American-Statesman’s Brian Davis, Del Conte stressed on Wednesday his desire to make Texas football home games an attraction worthwhile for fans outside of the immediate area — perhaps as far away as Houston or DFW — to make the day trip to Austin.
“Are we gonna make it worth your time to drive up from Houston to attend our game?” — Texas AD Chris Del Conte
No stranger to success
If anybody is to transform the gameday experience at Texas back into a can’t-miss-event, Del Conte might just be the person to do it.
Del Conte, who spent nearly a decade at TCU in the same position before he was hired by Texas last December, oversaw total renovations in excess of $100 million to both the Horned Frogs’ football and basketball venues as TCU made the transition into the Big 12. Amon G. Carter Stadium had its renovations completed by the 2012 season, while TCU basketball’s Schollmaier Arena reopened in early 2016.
Del Conte even managed have TCU pair with the Walt Disney Company in July 2014 as part of an effort to improve the gameday experience. For what its worth, TCU football went 12-1 and earned a share of the Big 12 title that ensuing fall after going 4-8 the year prior. Sound like familiar situation at all?
Needless to say, Texas might just be able to use a little bit of that Disney-like magic in getting back to its winning ways — both on the field and in attendance numbers. It’s worked before elsewhere in the Lone Star State. Maybe it’s time to try it on the Forty Acres.
Texas’ home-opener for the 2018 football season will come in Week 2 when the Longhorns face Tulsa as part of their nonconference slate. Texas will remain at home the following two weeks for games against USC and Del Conte’s former home — TCU.