Terrific article, Johnny. As a little background I grew up in Sylvania, Ohio, attended Ohio State in the mid-60s, then moved to Nevada in 1982. It took many, many years to adjust to being without everyday coverage of Buckeye sports. To the article about declining attendance at college football games, my wife and I were Nevada Wolfpack season ticket holders for 25 years (1989 - 2013). Mackay Stadium held about 18K in 89 and expanded over the years to about 30K in 2012.
For many years in the 90s it was hard to get a good seat ticket to games as the Pack was really good. However, student tickets were free for the games and the students showed up in mass. The loyal Pack fans, like us, sat in the same seats for decades, passing them down from generation to generation. So, to make a few extra bucks because Nevada had no huge TV contract, they decided to make special seating areas available at mid-field for a price. Then they decided to offer special parking areas for a price. Then they opened a separate tailgating area ..... for a price. Nevada also added areas of seatback seating, instead of the metal bleacher seats we sat on for 25 years, ..... at a price. In 1990 our 2 season tickets for 6 home games was $300. In 2013 the same 2 season tickets were $600.00 Plus we were paying $78.00 for two permanent seat backs. I almost paid the $100.00 for the special parking area but decided that walking the extra half-mile was better.
On the declining attendance figures, the last 5 or 6 years we went you could throw a rock in some sections of the stadium at some games and not hit anyone. With beer (although good beer) at $8 a bottle (not a cup, but without the cap), hotdogs or burgers for $6, it was too damn expensive to go and have a good time anymore. Plus, and here goes the "get off my lawn guy diatribe" Nevada began catering to the younger crowd. Those of us that had been the lifeblood of Wolfpack sports, especially football, were being excluded in the media blitz. The in-stadium atmosphere had changed; the programs were changed to attract the younger crowd; and the stadium announcer sounded more like a rap star than a football fan.
Although I can still afford the season tickets, and can stomach the atmosphere changes in the stadium, it just is too much of a hassle to go anymore. I can watch all the games I want at home, as others have mentioned, for free.
As other have stated it is easier to see the Buckeyes play on the road than at home because of the price. My wife and I have been in Tucson, Anaheim, Cal, and Pasadena (that was not cheaper) watching the Buckeyes. If and when the Buckeyes come west again I will be there if possible.
It is my fervent hope that Ohio Stadium maintains it place in sports heaven. I had the best time my two years there and would love to spend an afternoon again along the Olentangy River watching the Buckeyes bludgeon ttun. Until that happens, I can watch every game here in my Brutus Cave for free. Thanks for letting me rant and GO BUCKEYES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!