Stratton’s Stand: UConn needs to do something about early-departing football fans 

UConn Football at Rentschler Field against North Carolina State. 36,000 people attended, showing that even though the football team suffered a loss, UConn proved that their games are very much still interesting. Photo by Connor Sharp/Daily Campus

This past Thursday, it became clear that UConn football is back. The fans packed Rentschler Field as the team took on North Carolina State, a school that railed the Huskies by 31 points less than a year prior. There were over 36,000 people in attendance, the most since Connecticut hosted No. 15 Michigan nearly 10 years ago.  

With a poise that hasn’t been seen consistently in just as long, UConn showed they belonged. No, they didn’t win, but this game was a refreshing performance against a nationally recognized foe. It was a massive step forward and an indication that they can make their games interesting. The near-capacity crowd was also a nice touch.  

“I want to thank our fans for coming out in full force here,” noted coach Jim Mora, the man behind the turnaround. “[It’s great] to have the student section packed like that.” 

Instead of years past when one could count the number of students in attendance on a single hand, UConn actually had to extend the section to accommodate the number of tickets claimed.  

Despite this, the issue that needs solving is what the fans did after they sat down. With neither team leading by more than 10 points at any point in the game, one would think it reasonable to stay for most–if not all–of the game. But alas, as is with Connecticut sports culture, fans filed out as the second half progressed, the flow getting heavier as time in the contest waned.  

Maybe it was in fear of traffic. Surely leaving with everyone else is going to help clear up those tight Conn. roads. Or maybe some people had work on Tuesday. Many offices granted four-day weekends, so staying a bit later shouldn’t have been an issue for so many people. Even for those who did have to come into the office on Friday, staying for one more quarter of football can’t be that much of a hassle.  

“i want to thank our fans for coming out in full force here. [it’s great] to have the student section packed like that.”

Coach Jim Mora

What’s the point of going to the game if you get there halfway through the first quarter and leave before the fourth? In past years (from 2013-2021 with exceptions) it was understandable why people would leave once a school was crushing UConn after three quarters. It had rarely been a surprise that the game would turn out that way.   

But now? There was little about this game that was different from advertised. Those in attendance knew that N.C. State was favored by 14.5 going in. The Huskies were never down by that much. People knew that the Wolfpack were likely going to win. And the hope was that UConn would give fans something to cheer for.  

The Huskies did their part. A pair of Victor Rosa touchdowns each sent the Rent into a momentary craze. This was especially true during his theatrical somersault, even if it ultimately did end up costing them in the end. So what will it take to prevent people from leaving so early? 

One idea to keep people in the stands is to create rewards for those who stay. T-shirts are given to people who get there early, so why not give out shirts to those who stay late? Or any other item. It could be a certificate or a voucher for food at the next game. That way, not only is there an incentive to stay until the end, but it also gives people an initial reason to attend the next game.  

On a similar wavelength, Georgetown has interesting incentives for their student tickets to basketball games this year. They charge ~$100 per person for the season and reduce the price based on how many games you attend. It becomes nearly free for people who go to all the games, creating an incentive to pack the stands. UConn could do something similar, but for staying the whole game. With the free student tickets it would be trickier, but they could introduce a policy that paying customers who stay the whole game get a certain percentage discounted. This would be done by giving people slips of paper as they leave to redeem their money that can be used towards future UConn sporting events.  

Either way, this is not a bad issue to have. In order to have so many people leaving prematurely, even more people have to be coming in. It’s not an issue UConn has had in the recent past, something that is important not to overlook. With that being said, having the electric atmosphere throughout the game would be a massive boost to the team and could give them the extra help they need to win tight games.  


  1. A lot of it is traffic. I went to a USA soccer game there. Not a packed stadium but good amount of propel. Maybe the lower bowl was full. Still took almost two hours to get out of there. This was a few years back so it may have gotten better. Haven’t been to a packed weekday game in a long time but this is still a memory.

    So much so I wanted to go to the game last week I really did. I thought about it up until day of. I hadn’t bought a ticket but I was looking for public transportation into the stadium. Coming from Danbury area by myself I didn’t want to pay for parking or have to drive by myself. I was sure there was a bus system in place to get there to be disappointed that one actually does not seem to exist. With so many events off campus between the Rent and XL center and campus itself not being centrally located there should be a shuttle for fans (non students) coming from various part of the state maybe Stamford, Danbury, New Haven and Madison some of the bigger cities around the state that people can drive to then take the bus up to the Rent or XL center.

    I imagine I am not the only one in this situation. This could raise tickets and it would have people stay later into the game. If they know the bus is departing a half hour or an hour after the game they will stay and then they don’t have to worry about sitting in traffic getting tired at the wheel. They could nap on the way home. They don’t have to worry about the frustration that is getting into and out of the stadium. Something Uconn should highly consider for premier events and games. Maybe not all of them but the big football, men and women basketball, hockey and if they want to get a big draw for specific soccer, baseball or field hockey games.

  2. It takes too long to get out of the lot. Even with fans leaving after Q3 it’s just bad. The stadium is small for D-1 fooball only 38,000…

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