March 1, 2024

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Rose Bowl attendance recorded an all-time low in UCLA’s first game since the announcement of the move to the Big Ten

Rose Bowl attendance recorded an all-time low in UCLA's first game since the announcement of the move to the Big Ten
USA Today Sports Pictures

UCLA football set a low program to attend one game at the Rose Bowl during its 45-17 win over Bowling Green in Week 1. 27,143 fans bought tickets for the game, setting a record that has held for nearly 30 years.

The Bruins’ previous low point came in the Rose Bowl on November 7, 1992, when 32,513 fans were in attendance for their 26-14 win over Oregon State in one of the games that followed a five-game losing streak. However, Saturday’s listed attendance was about 5,000 fewer fans than the previous figure. Attendance is usually calculated by tickets purchased, which means there are likely to be fewer fans in the building.

There are certainly a few bits of context. The fall semester at UCLA doesn’t start until September 19, which means many students aren’t on campus yet. In addition, the high temperature in Los Angeles exceeded 100 degrees, making it one of the hottest days of the year. The Rose Bowl is also located 30 miles from the UC Westwood campus, which makes the trip challenging, especially to watch UCLA play Bowling Green, who went 4-8 last season.

However, nearly every one of these factors affects UCLA every season and attendance has never come close to that record level.

After a quiet start, the Bruins shook off a 38-point unanswered strike to crush the Hawks. Dorian Thompson Robinson, quarterback, scored 298 passing yards, an 87 yard dash and four touchdowns in the win. Running back Zach Charbonnet added a 111-yard dash and touchdown.

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The Bruins started their best season since 2015 after going 8-4 in 2021 and entering the AP Top 25 in Chip Kelly’s fourth season. The record drop in attendance also comes a few months after the Bruins announced plans to leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten in 2024. UCLA fans will need to get used to playing Midwest opponents in hot Los Angeles weather for the next few years.