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More than 50 million people attended college football games in 2013

Attendance for college football games topped the 50 million mark for the first time in the sport's 144-year history, the NCAA announced Monday.

 All told, the 657 member institutions spread across four NCAA divisions hosted 50,291,275 fans at all home, neutral site and postseason games this fall, breaking the record of 49,699,419 set in 2011. FBS set a division record with 38,135,118 fans (45,671 per game), followed by FCS with 6,238,740, Division II at 2,985,610 and Division III with 2,465,231 spectators.

In FBS, the SEC extended its conference attendance streak to 17 years, setting an all-conference record with 7,567,406 fans. Michigan won its 16th consecutive attendance title (and 38th since 1974, and 44th since 1949) for individual schools with an average of 111,592 fans per game. The Wolverines were followed by Ohio State (104,933) and Alabama (101,505). 

Five programs saw their gates jump by at least 8,000 fans per game over last season: Washington, Kentucky, Buffalo, Akron and Pittsburgh. Thirteen teams played in front of more than one million spectators this season, led by Auburn's 1,204,185 cumulative attendance in its 14-game run to the BCS National Championship game. 

Overall, 35 bowl games drew a total of 1,714,617 fans (48,989 per game). A total of 23 FCS playoff games drew 8,012 fans per game, the Division II tournament averaged 3,342 in its 23 games, and the 31-game Division III tournament averaged 2,090 spectators. 

In FCS, the SWAC claimed the conference attendance crown for the 35th time in 36 years with a total of 682,841 fans. Appalachian State won its sixth individual attendance championship in seven years, averaging 24,894 fans per game. 

In the lower divisions, the Lone Star Conference won its fifth championship, but first since 1989, with 6,599 fans per game; Tuskegee won its seventh crown in 16 years with a 14,954-fan average. In Division III, the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference earned top honors for the eighth time in nine years at 3,343 fans per game, and St. John's (Minn.) won its 13th championship in 14 years by averaging 7,364 fans per game.

FBS Conferences
1. SEC - 75,674 average attendance
2. Big Ten - 70,431
3. Big 12 - 58,899

FBS Schools
1. Michigan - 111,592 average attendance
2. Ohio State - 104,933
3. Alabama - 101,505

FCS Conferences
1. SWAC - 12,415 average attendance
2. SoCon - 11,623
3. Missouri Valley - 10,722

FCS Schools
1. Appalachian State - 24,894 average attendance
2. Montana - 24,830
3. James Madison - 21,011

Division II Conferences
1. Lone Star - 6,599 average attendance
2. Gulf South - 5,399
3. SIAC - 5,308

Division II Schools
1. Tuskegee (Ala.) - 14,954 average attendance
2. Grand Valley State (Mich.) - 10,116
3. Pittsburg State (Kan.) - 10,030

Division III Conferences
1. MIAC - 3,343 average attendance
2. American Southwest - 3,210
3. Wisconsin Intercollegiate - 2,953

Division III Schools
1. St. John's (Minn.) - 7,364 average attendance
2. Geneva (Pa.) - 5,358
3. Wisconsin-Whitewater - 5,063

Author: Zach Barnett
Zach Barnett is a native of Denton, Texas and a graduate of the University of Texas. He joined FootballScoop in 2012 after two years at the National Football Foundation. His hobbies include watching college football, reading about college football and writing about college football.