May 21, 2024

In Reality, an Excuse Is A Reason For No Showboat Support

Memphis Showboats logo. Credits- Memphis Showboats Media
Memphis Showboats logo. Credits- Memphis Showboats Media

In Reality, an Excuse Is A Reason For No Showboat Support

The UFL has become quite the spring football league nationwide. The newly merged USFL and XFL have talented rosters coached by many household names as coaches.  The eight teams are domiciled in Arlington, Texas during the practice weeks and fly to their home stadiums before gameday for community activities among other events. With the size of many of the stadiums some teams have chosen to split the capacity and only have fans on one side. With this also being the case in Memphis, we peek into some numbers and more for the Showboats

We start by stating that the capacity of Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium is currently 58,325 meaning half would be 29,162 seats. Now that we have established this, we get to some sad numbers.

Showboats head coach, John DeFlippo, speaks with the quarterback, Case Cookus, at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium. Credit – Memphis Showboats Media

 If you have watched this season’s games on television you have seen the sparse crowds on hand. While the team has only played two home games the attendance is something even the league has noticed. Total attendance in 2024 is 16,431 fans. Simple math tells you this is an average of 8,215 fans per game. This gives us a fill capacity rate of 28%. Yes, you read that correctly, at 28%! This horrendous attendance and lack of support locally has reverberated through the league and can not be ignored. 

To put this into comparison, of the teams who split capacity this is the second lowest league-wide. This got us to dive into the league numbers and the return was some astounding conclusions. Of the eight teams, six of them split their respective stadium capacities. 

We will start with the largest stadiums and work down as we describe these teams and their numbers compared to Memphis. Let’s start with the largest stadium, The Alamodome, in San Antonio, Texas. The Brahmas play in a 73,086-seat stadium that has seen some of the sport’s most legendary moments. With half capacity being 36,543 seats the Brahmas have played three home games in 2024. In these games, they totaled 36,205 fans and have averaged 12,068 fans which equals 33% of the Alamodome filled. Of the six teams who fill half, the Brahmas sit at 5th lowest. 

We head to Houston, Texas, and the Roughnecks for our next team. The Roughnecks play in Rice Stadium which has a capacity of 70,000 seats with half capacity being 35,500 seats. The fans of the Roughnecks have attended the three home games with low support. To further this point the fans have totaled 22,621 or an average of 7,540 per game. At half capacity of the stadium, this comes to a 21% fill rate. This ranks them tied for the lowest among these teams. 

Next, we head to Ford Field and the Michigan Panthers. Ford Field holds 65,500 seats which split equals 32,500 available. Of these seats, the Panthers have come to the three home games showing little support. The total attendance for 2024 is 23,871, an average of 7,957 per game. The Panthers faithful have filled 21% so far which sits them at last among these teams. 

We now head to the home of the UFL, Arlington, Texas, and the Renegades. The Renegades play in Choctaw Stadium which holds 48,114 seats with half capacity being 24,057. The three home games have been attended by 32,847 fans or an average of 10,949 fans per game. At the half-capacity rate, this equates to a 45% fill. Of these teams, this ranks the league home team at 4th. 

Lastly, we head to Birmingham, Alabama, and the Stallions. The defending USFL champions play in Protective Stadium which holds 47,100 fans with half being 23,50 seats. The Stallions have played two home games in 2024 and have had 15,,896 fans attend. Half the stadium is accessible comes to a fill rate of 66%, the highest amongst these teams. While this shows the support of champions it proves that support can happen. 

ST LOUIS, MISSOURI – APRIL 20: Troy Williams #11 of the Memphis Showboats throws the ball during the second half against the St. Louis Battlehawks at The Dome at America’s Center on April 20, 2024 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/UFL/Getty Images)

In closing, we start with a reminder of the fill rate for the Showboats who only utilize half their stadium. That rate is 28 %. 

Comments such as “They are Memphis in name only”, “They aren’t even spending money in Memphis”, and “They do nothing in the community so why support.” are telling. It’s telling that they are just excuses by many who will NOT support this team. The above numbers are teams that are in the SAME league with support.  

So, why does Memphis NOT support it? The head coach, John DeFlippo, does. The players who play through injuries because they are proud to continue their playing careers for the Showboats do as well. The hospitals, homeless shelters, schools, and other organizations around Memphis who welcome the team to their facilities show support. 

So, we ask again, why do their fans not? 

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