Is there a decrease in sports attendance? Athletes weigh in


Annie Zhang

THUMBS UP. Soccer players Clare Ryan-Bradley Sonia Kharbanda, and Evy Sachs sit on the bench, waiting for the tennis match to start.

High school sports play a vital role in cultivating school spirit, facilitating a social scene and giving students a mental break after a long day. Attending any SPA sporting event guarantees a stimulating experience with lasting memories.

Sophomore Sam Peterson values the social aspect of games. “I like the environment of [sports games]. The fans and the food are great; the game isn’t as important when I’m having a fun time with friends.”

Game attendance has inexplicably shrunk over the past few years. Though there are a variety of different factors that can affect game attendance, the safety restrictions imposed during the pandemic have proven particularly challenging. Many limits were put on SPA sports, leaving sports fans with few events to enjoy. During this time, many student sports fans filled in this empty time with more focus on academics.

“The last Wolfpack game had like four people show up and compared to my freshman year at SPA, that’s a huge difference. I feel like COVID definitely had some impact there and now no one is watching Wolfpack games,” senior Soren Miller said.

However, various sports captains disagree that COVID was the paramount reason for surging sports attendance.

“[…] everyone has so much stuff with school and life out[side] of school, so watching a match for hours is a big time commitment. This is one of the personal reasons why I can’t attend many other sporting events because there is a big workload,” senior soccer captain Yash Kshirsagar said. As a senior, Kshirsagar has been through the highs and the lows of SPA throughout the pandemic.

Senior tennis captain Autumn Spaulding has similar thoughts. “We’ve never had a huge turnout at tennis matches, so COVID didn’t have a huge impact, but I would say that more parents were showing up to matches during COVID because it was outside social time,” she said.

THREE CHEERS FOR TENNIS. The JV tennis players start off their game by clapping for their teammates. (Annie Zhang)

Although COVID may not be SPA’s sports game’s greatest foe, it is still apparent that sports game attendances are not the highest.

“[…] having fans does make each game better because having a crowd that has your support makes a big deal on the field. Though it adds pressure, it’s a good kind of pressure that creates excitement and a high level of focus and concentration,” Kshirsagar said.

Spaulding also emphasized the importance of fans. “I personally love it when people stop by to watch even if it’s just for a few points, […]. Tennis can easily get very stuffy and quiet, so having people cheer is really helpful,” she said.

The importance of having fans at any sporting event is evident when talking to any team member. Competition schedules can be found on team pages located on the SPA website.