The Florida State Brand remains strong

FSU football finally appeared to right the ship during the 2022 season finishing 10-3 and giving fans something to be excited about again. Under the direction of athletic director Michael Alford, the type of leader FSU has lacked at the position for some time now, the football program and athletic department as a whole are making strides in the new era of FSU athletics.

From recently breaking ground on the new football-only facility and making upgrades to the baseball and softball stadiums to hiring a former SEC coach of the year to take over the soccer program and bringing Link Jarrett home (who we all feel is going to be a homerun hire) for the baseball program just to name a few. They also just signed Mike Norvell to a multi-year extension as one of the highest paid coaches in the ACC bringing added stability to a program that has not had much in recent years.

While it is a process and massive changes don’t happen overnight, FSU is making moves that will continue to elevate itself as one of the premier athletic departments in the country.

We often hear “the logo holds weight” on social media in regard to Florida State and those claims are correct. Being we’re primarily a football-focused site here, this article is going to highlight some of the football numbers behind why the FSU brand continues to remain a strong national power.

College football has become a never-ending arms race, with more and more revenue coming into the sport. Despite FSU being in the ACC which we all know holds the revenue back to a degree as the lowest paying of the power five conferences. And the fact that FSU is also one of the youngest power five programs which puts them decades behind at creating a larger more deeply rooted booster base than spans generations the Seminoles continue to hold their own.

We also know that FSU is pulling itself out of a down period which obviously hurts revenue from a multitude of factors as well. However, 2022 was a success for FSU that should only continue to compound if the trend of success continues.

TV Viewership

As for TV viewership in 2022, FSU was 15th overall in average viewership for the 2022 season averaging 2.03M viewers per week (up from 25th in 2021 at 1.27M). This number ranks second in the ACC behind Clemson at 2.59M, and far ahead of the third-place ACC team which was NC State at 43rd with an average weekly viewership of just 881k.

A benchmark in the tv ratings world is a game that crests the 4 million viewer mark. There were only 45 games during the entire 2022 regular season that reached that milestone. FSU had 2 games break that mark and a 3rd if you include the bowl game. FSU vs Clemson was also close to that mark with 3.38M viewers.

FSU vs LSU was the 9th most watched game of the 2022 season with 7.55M viewers and FSU vs UF was the 12th with 6.71M. Those 2 games were also the highest-viewed regular season games by any ACC team by a margin of 1.73 million views with the next highest being NC State vs Clemson at 4.98M. A few other TV rating highlights from the 2022 season include.

Florida State also recently stated via social media that from 2014-2021 their average of 3.09M viewers per game was the best in the ACC. A lot of people gave push back saying FSU cherry picked numbers to make themselves look good to which I argue that skips the national championship season and includes 4 of the worst years the football program has had in four decades so that narrative gets shot down rather quickly.

That also includes a period where ACC foe Clemson won two national titles and had their most successful runs in program history. It’s also clear those two programs carry the conference no matter how you slice it up. Those weren’t all bad years for FSU but the point remains that even in a down period and up against an ACC rival at their peak FSU still led the conference is average weekly viewership.

Attendance Numbers

As for attendance, FSU’s 5-year average of 65,746 ranks 21st in all of college football. It’s important to note that 14 teams above them have a higher stadium capacity which obviously skews the outcome even if FSU were to sell out every game.

Furthermore, 11 of those teams saw a decrease in average attendance over that 5-year span whereas FSU saw an increase of 2.29% which included a 14.61% jump in 2022. The attendance numbers were 2nd in the ACC behind Clemson at 14th with an average of 80,500. Once again keep in mind how the past 5 years have gone for each team and that Clemson has a slightly larger stadium too.

Now to be fair these must be the reported numbers because Miami has an average attendance of almost 55k on the same list which we know is not even remotely true.

Speaking of sold-out games, FSU also had 2 games sell out last season, Boston College, and Florida, for the first time since the new stadium configuration debuted in 2016.

Revenue Growth

All of this helped FSU generate a surplus of $10.364 million dollars in 2022 which is the second consecutive year in doing so and up from a 7M surplus in 2020-2021 according to the Tallahassee Democrat.

Their operating revenue of $161.1M was the highest since 2018 largely in part to an increase in ticket sales, marketing revenue, and university support. This is also while factoring in FSU’s expenses increased at the same time regarding recruiting budgets, team travel costs, coaching salaries, game day expenses, and administrative costs to name a few.

It did help that FSU had increased success on the field and hosted 7 home games including a ranked matchup against Wake Forest, and big games against Clemson and Florida. The 2023 home slate is not quite as exciting with Miami potentially being the biggest of the 6 home games on the schedule.

However, with a better product on the field fans will still be eager to be in the seats to watch this team play. I also think it’s fair to point out that Tallahassee is not the easiest place to travel to and outrageous hotel prices on game weekends limit those willing to make the trek from out of town.

Wrapping up

The point of this article is to show that FSU remains one of the national power brands in college sports even during a rebuilding period. The name, logo and brand are immediately recognizable across the country and when FSU is on TV people are tuned in. 

The collectives that support FSU have made them a serious player in the NIL space as well as Seminole boosters seeing an increase in support including the newly launched Bowden society that is already up to 292 members at the time of writing this.

All of this points to it being an exciting time at FSU with success on the field growing under an athletic department with strong leadership and a vision for the future.

Thanks for reading and Go Noles!!

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