Know why college students don’t fill games? Smartphones

Lack of smartphone reception one reason students stay away from stadium

Hawaii running back Steven Lakalaka (4) is buried in the end zone for a safety by the Oregon State defense as Hawaii offensive linesman Ben Clarke (71) watches in the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game in Corvallis, Ore., Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)
Hawaii running back Steven Lakalaka (4) is buried in the end zone for a safety by the Oregon State defense as Hawaii offensive linesman Ben Clarke (71) watches in the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game in Corvallis, Ore., Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — College football stadiums are generally packed with fans for every game. Increasingly, though, those fans do not include students.

Oregon State's Connor Hamlett (89) flips over Eastern Washington's T.J. Lee (31) while leaping to catch a pass in the third quarter Saturday Aug. 31, 2013 in Corvallis, Ore. (Amanda Cowan | Corvallis Gazette-Times)
Oregon State’s Connor Hamlett (89) flips over Eastern Washington’s T.J. Lee (31) while leaping to catch a pass in the third quarter Saturday Aug. 31, 2013 in Corvallis, Ore. (Amanda Cowan | Corvallis Gazette-Times)

And one reason students may not be at the games is because they can’t get service on their smartphones.

“Most stadiums in the last couple of years have been dead zones,” said Steve Fenk with the Oregon State University athletic department. “There are so many people trying to use their smart phones that nobody can get out and do anything like that. Or that’s what we are hearing is the biggest thing, the inability to use smartphones.”

The lack of smartphone reception, the fact more games are being televised, and the lack of certainty of the home team’s winning adds up to empty stadium seats — and packed seats at sports bars.

Bar manager Sarah Strom said, “It’s hard to want to go to a game when you are not sure if it’s going to be entertaining enough to win.”

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) is mobbed by teammates after scoring against Tennessee in Eugene, Ore., Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) is mobbed by teammates after scoring against Tennessee in Eugene, Ore., Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

The trend is happening all over the country. The Wall Street Journal said the average number of students attending OSU Beavers games has dropped more than 10% from 2009 to 2013.

At the University of Oregon Ducks games, their student average is up 3%

Making that stat more interesting is the fact OSU students get their tickets free — with their tuition.

But at the OSU Beavers store in Portland, fans are still rooting for their favorite school.

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