ST. PAUL, Minn. --
For the second season in a row and seventh time in eight years, the
Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) football
enjoyed more fan support than any other conference in NCAA Division
III. The MIAC welcomed 161,870 total fans and an average of 3,372
per game through its football games in 2012, with a pair of schools
- Saint John's and Concordia - both ranking in the top five for
The MIAC enjoyed tremendous success on the field in 2012, as the league opened the season with a collective 13-0 record against nonconference opponents, finishing with a stellar 16-2 record outside of league play. The conference also sent a pair of teams - St. Thomas and Bethel - to the 2012 NCAA Division III Playoffs, where the Royals advanced to the second round and the Tommies represented the MIAC in the national championship game, the Stagg Bowl.
That success was experienced by a dedicated fan base that has now ranked first in the nation in Division III attendance in seven of the last eight seasons, with a second-place finish in 2010. The MIAC's nine football teams hosted 48 games in 2012, viewed by an average of 3,372 fans (161,870 total). The MIAC was the only conference in Division III to host more than 133,000 fans and more than 3,000 fans per game. In addition, the conference had more total fans per game than nine Division II and two FCS conferences, and more total fans than seven Division II conference and one FCS league.
"The MIAC would like to thank its dedicated schools, students, fans, families and alumni for helping our conference lead Division III in football attendance again in 2012," said Dan McKane, MIAC Executive Director. "We're truly fortunate to have such passion and interest throughout our conference. The MIAC is extremely grateful to our coaches and student-athletes for putting such an excellent product on the field, to our schools for fostering outstanding game-day experiences, and of course to our dedicated fans who continually make MIAC football the most-watched in Division III."
Other than FBS Big Ten games hosted by the University of Minnesota, the MIAC schools averaged the most fans of any other collegiate conference with schools in Minnesota. The Division II Northern Sun Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (NSIC) averaged 2,561 fans per game, while the Division III Upper Midwest Athletic Conference averaged 660 fans per game.
The MIAC had nearly 4,000 more fans per game than Division III's runner-up, the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC), which finished with an average of 2,966 per game (121,609 total). The MIAC's neighbors to the East, the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) finished third with 2,943 fans per game (2,943). The Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) had the second-most total fans (132,867, 2,416 per game). Division III has 27 football conferences and five independent schools.
In the Division III individual school rankings, the MIAC had the nation's top team, two of the top five, a third in the top 15 and five of its nine schools all ranked among the top 25. Saint John's (press release) claimed the Division III football attendance crown for the 15th time in the last 20 seasons with an average of 7,948 fans and a total of 39,741 spectators over five home games in 2012. The runner-up, UW-Whitewater, finished with 7,552. Concordia (press release) joined the Johnnies in the top five, as the Cobbers welcomed 24,197 fans over five games, with an average of 4,839. Concordia has been ranked in the top five two seasons in a row, and in the top 10 in seven of the last eight seasons.
Bethel joined the top 15 with 19,192 fans in five home games, for an average of 3,838 fans per game. St. Olaf checked in at No. 23 with a average of 3,416 fans per game and a total of 13,664 in five home contests. Gustavus also joined the top 24, as the Gusties ranked just one spot behind the Oles with an average of 3,343 fans per game. A total of 16,713 fans attended Gustavus' five home games.
Each of the MIAC's nine schools averaged at least 1,300 fans per game in 2012. MIAC champion and national runner-up St. Thomas averaged 2,809 fans per game. Carleton averaged 1,721 fans per game, Augsburg welcomed an average of 1,544 to its home contests and Hamline had an average attendance of 1,367.
This season, all four NCAA football divisions (FBS, FCS, II, III) saw a total of 48,958,547 fans attend 3,569 games. The average attendance across all divisions was 13,718 fans per game, and overall attendance was down by 330 fans per game in 2012. Division III had a total of 2,361,687 fans and an average of 1,952 fans at its 1,210 games. The other NCAA conference leaders were the Southeastern Conference (SEC) with 75,538 fans per game in FBS, the Southwest Atlantic with 13,097 fans per game in FBS and Southern Intercollegiate in Division II with 7,429 fans per game.
The MIAC will welcome Division III's top-rated crowds back for another outstanding season on the football field in September. The MIAC season officially kicks off with Saint John's visiting UW-River Falls on Friday, Sept. 6, with a full slate of nonconference games set for Saturday, Sept. 7. Conference play begins on Saturday, Sept. 21, and runs through Saturday, Nov. 16, with 11 total weeks and nine conference weeks on the schedule. The full 2013 MIAC football schedule is available online.
| 2012 NCAA Football Attendance | 2013 MIAC Football Schedule |