SEC: Schools take steps to improve fan experience

SEC LogoBIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – All 14 Southeastern Conference members have taken steps to improve the fan experience at league football stadiums, the league said.

The changes resulted from recommendations made by a working group approved by SEC athletic directors in June 2012 to review attendance trends with some fans choosing to watch at home on flat-screen TVs.

The league said 57 of 100 games played at SEC venues in 2013, including the SEC championship game, were filled to capacity. Average attendance climbed more than a 1,000 to 75,674 last season.

“Our institutions have made it a priority to engage their fans in a way that will enhance their in-game enjoyment and satisfaction,” SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said. “I salute our schools for being bold in addressing the fan experience and recognizing that increased attention to fans is critical to the continued success of our league.”

The league conducted fan research through the 2013-14 athletic year in football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball and softball. The study showed that the areas of most concern to fans are availability of concessions and restroom conditions.

The SEC changed the rules so that replays of plays under official review can be shown in the stadium, and in-game highlights and updates will also be available.

The SEC said at least 12 schools have indicated they’ve made changes to concessions. Eight or more are working on improving restroom conditions and/or cell service, while six have made improvements to video production.

“The fan experience goes beyond winning and losing games,” said Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin, chair of the working group. “It starts from the time they approach the stadium to the moment they leave campus.”