Attendance at the Monon Bell game, the apex of both DePauw and Wabash’s football season, has decreased in recent years.
In 2010, the attendance for the Monon Bell game at Wabash College was 11,743. Since then, attendance has declined, with the total number in 2012 down to 8,917, and then down to 7,933 in 2014 according to DePauw’s Sports Information DePartment.
This steady decline could be due to a variety of reasons. Attendance figures for the games played at Blackstock Stadium have remained steady, in large part because the capacity at DePauw is usually capped out at around 8,000, preventing any more people from attending.
DePauw’s Athletic Director, Stevie Baker-Watson, mentioned that one reason for this decline has been the reconfiguration of Wabash’s Hollett Little Giant Stadium, which she said drove the maximum number of people allowed into the game down.
She also noted that DePauw alumni attendance seems to decrease when Wabash hosts the matchup.
Baker-Watson said a lack of interest on behalf of the DePauw student body has also played a part in the decreased attendance figures. “The students, when the team was not winning, were not interested in going to the game,” Baker-Watson said. “Generally, we have a great fan following from parents and alumni, but it’s the student attendance that seems to be off.”
The Tiger’s success on the field this season, only tallying two losses, seems to have rekindled school spirit said Baker-Watson.
For sophomore cornerback Brooks Hepp, playing in front of a large crowd during a big game is something he relishes . “Not only is it more fun for us to play in front of a big crowd of students, but it also works in our advantage,” Hepp said. “When it’s a big third down, we need some crowd noise to rattle the Wabash offense.”
DePauw Student Government Vice President and senior linebacker, Charlie Douglas sees attendance this year as particularly crucial because the game is at Hollett Little Giant Stadium. “The importance of student attendance at Monon this year is immeasurable,” Douglas said. “We need students to come and support the team. We love when we have a crowd backing us up.”
This year’s DePauw football team is one of the most successful in past years and players want students to be there if they win. “This is a moment that DePauw students will be able to look back on for many years to come,” said senior wide receiver Ian Good. “We have the best DePauw football team and we hope everyone in attendance can witness and be part of a victory.”