In its first season of existence, Anthony Field at Wildcat Stadium has already found its name on the FCS top-25 list of average attendance at football games.
ACU landed at the No. 25 spot with an average of 10,441 fans per game and a total of 52,204 out of five home games. The specific attendance for each game, according to ACU Sports, was a sold out 12,000 in the stadium opener against Houston Baptist; 11,645 against Stephen F. Austin; 10,564 against McNeese; another sell out of 12,000 for Homecoming against Southeastern Louisiana; and 5,995 against Sam Houston.
This was certainly a step up from the previous year, when ACU averaged only 6,342 fans per game in its final year at Shotwell Stadium, making this year’s average attendance a 65 percent increase.
Director of athletics Lee De León said he was pleased with the attendance count this season.
“It speaks volumes to our fan base and the potential that we have,” De León said. “I think it shows that we belong in FCS and that we’re here to stay, and that we plan on being a top-25 FCS program not just in football but across the board.”
While the stadium made its debut this year, head coach Adam Dorrel also began his new job leading the Wildcats. In the team’s home games, Dorrel coached ACU to a stadium-opening win against HBU, also keeping things interesting in a close 13-7 loss against defensive powerhouse McNeese, as well as losing by only 44-35 to third-ranked Sam Houston State.
Dorrel said the attendance figures mean something to his team.
“It’s really exciting for our program; it’s something we’re going to try and publicize as much as we can,” Dorrel said. “It’s like the line from Field of Dreams, if you build it they will come, and it was really cool to see, so hopefully we can keep growing that.”
With his second year to come and new recruits on the way, Dorrel said his goal is to see steady growth in all aspects of the program, including attendance.
The Wildcats were one of two Southland Conference teams to appear in the top-25 for FCS attendance. SFA came in at 21 with an average attendance of 11,376. McNeese State did crack the top-30, coming in at 27 with an average attendance of 9,939. ACU also had the third-smallest enrollment of any school in the top-25 and the lowest win percentage, showing promising potential and support for a program in just its first-year of postseason eligibility.