Warhawks finish second in nation in football attendance
November 21, 2012
Football fans at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater take seriously the phrase "Pack the Perk."
The Warhawks finished second in the nation in regular season attendance for Division III football, drawing 37,760 fans to Perkins Stadium this year.
"It's more than a game," said Paul Plinske, director of athletics. "From tailgating to in-game promotions to the video board, we provide an exciting atmosphere that tops Division III. Plus, who wouldn't want to hear the cannon fire after each Warhawk touchdown?"
Fan support has meant so much to senior Warhawk player Joe Hansen that he looks forward to joining the stadium crowds after graduation to cheer for the team.
"I've played in 52 games during my Warhawk career and some of my most memorable experiences were in Perkins Stadium," said Hansen, an offensive lineman. "Playing in front of the largest crowds in Division III has elevated my play and helped our team win national titles. I'll leave Whitewater proud of all I accomplished on the field, but I'm really appreciative of the game-day atmosphere at Perkins Stadium."
Fan support is critical to UW-Whitewater's mission of providing an outstanding environment for football, especially at a time when costs have risen more than 200 percent since 2004.
"Ticket sales, parking, concessions, merchandising and sponsorships help us address much-needed areas in our football program by making up 40 percent of the revenue needed to support football. With this financial backing, we purchase uniforms, video technology, helmets and shoulder pads, and pay for travel and lodging," Plinske said.
UW-Whitewater averaged 7,552 fans for five home games this fall. Perkins Stadium played host to the second- and third-largest crowds of the year - Oct. 20 against UW-Oshkosh (12,318) and Oct. 6 against UW-River Falls (11,288). The only Division III game to attract more fans was the St. Thomas vs. St. John's (Minn.) game on Sept. 15 (14,286). St. John's led the nation in total attendance with 39,741 and Hampden-Sydney College (Va.) finished third with 33,617.
By playing on ESPN for the last seven years and winning four national titles, the football program has raised UW-Whitewater's visibility, said Coach Lance Leipold.
"Spectators who come to campus on Saturdays get a first-hand look at our team, but they also experience the excitement that surrounds a game at Perkins Stadium," Leipold said. "Our team appreciates the support very much, but we also rely heavily on the revenue to keep our program moving forward."
|UNIVERSITY||2012 Season Attendance||Home games||Avg. Attendance|
This is the seventh consecutive year that UW-Whitewater has ranked in the top ten for regular season home attendance in Division III football. The Warhawks ranked third in 2011 (8,039), third in 2010 (7,969), fifth in 2009 (4,452), second in 2008 (5,387), ninth in 2007 (4,329) and third in 2006 (4,454).
The UW-Whitewater football team has won four national championships and 32 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles.