Gopher game attendance hits low point despite big win

The Minnesota Gophers celebrated their first Big 10 Conference win on Saturday, an important 44-28 triumph over Purdue. But relatively few were there to see it: The new TCF was the smallest crowd in the new TCF Bank stadium's four-year history, just 41,062, well below 50,000 capacity, the Business Journal reports.

The University of Minnesota Gophers football team celebrated their first Big 10 Conference win on Saturday, an important 44-28 triumph over Purdue. But relatively few were there to see it: The 4-year-old TCF Bank Stadium hosted its smallest crowd yet, just 41,062, well below 50,000 capacity, the Business Journal reports.

Gopher football attendance has dropped in each of the last three seasons, despite the modern, gleaming new stadium. According to Sports Business Daily, home game attendance at TCF Bank in the last three seasons has averaged 50,805 (2009); 49,513 (2010); 47,714 (2011).

The team last year ranked ninth in attendance out of the 12 teams that are now in the conference (Purdue, Indiana and Northwestern pulled smaller crowds).

This year's attendance is also on track to drop – the average has been 46,692.

The team's record hasn't offered much to cheer about with 3-9 seasons in the last two. But this year the Gophers are 5-3 so far.

How many more games can the team win this season? Two seems to be the consensus in an unofficial Star Tribune poll.

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Gophers head football coach Jerry Kill tells the Star Tribune it is his responsibility to fix the attendance issues at TCF Bank Stadium. "I'm not going to blame anybody. We've got to put a good product out there. That's what I was hired to do a year and a half ago, and that's what we'll do," Kill said. Last Saturday was the lowest-attended game in TCF Bank Stadium's four-year history -- just 41,062 tickets sold.

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