West Virginia University left the Big East conference for the Big 12 on July 1, 2012. So the Mountaineers have now played one season of college football in the Big 12, and two seasons of college basketball. Both college football and college basketball home games have seen significant declines in attendance since the move to the Big 12.
West Virginia college football and basketball attendance way down in Big 12
- West Virginia college football attendance off 6.9% in Big 12
West Virginia averaged 56,532 fans per home game at its college football games in 2012 as a member of the Big East. With the move to the Big 12, West Virginia averaged 52,910 fans per home game in college football in 2013.
That is a decline of 6.9%
- West Virginia college basketball attendance off 14.5% in Big 12
West Virginia averaged 9,930 fans per home game at college basketball games for its last season in the Big East in 2012. Over the first two seasons in the Big 12, West Virginia is averaging 8,674 fans per home basketball game.
That is a decline of 14.5%.
The decline is getting more pronounced too. In 2013, West Virginia's first year in the Big 12, college basketball attendance was 8,752. In 2014, West Virginia's college basketball attendance was 8,596. That's a decline of 1.8%. Not a huge decline, but it's still further erosion from the attendance figures West Virginia had in the Big East.
In 2011, West Virginia averaged 11,529 fans per home college basketball game. So the declines are even more pronounced than they were from 2012.
Why the declines in attendance?
While it is still a little early, West Virginia has only been in the Big 12 a little under two years, I would say a trend is showing. One of the biggest problems with West Virginia being in the Big 12 is the distance the school is from all the other schools in that conference.
The West Virginia campus in Morgantown is an average of 1,152 miles from all the other schools in the Big 12. The closest campus is 870 miles away in Ames, Iowa (Iowa State), and the furthest is 1,465 miles away in Lubbock, Texas (Texas Tech).