No real answers, as attendance continues to decline, but from my observation, the move from Thanksgiving weekend to the December weekend has hurt overall attendance. "Back in the day" the OSU-Mich game was the Saturday BEFORE Thanksgiving, but that changed some years ago when the conference title games became a "thing." December has the conference title games, Christmas season is starting, etc... Too many balls in the air for most, except for schools that are relatively "new" to the state finals or for those with family/friends actually playing in the game.
Friday actually seems to be the best day recently for attendance, regardless of division. Weather can be worse in December, but was not this year.
Division II – Thursday, 7 p.m. (5,120)
No. 2 Akron Archbishop Hoban (14-1) vs. No. 5 Toledo Central Catholic (14-1)
Not as much of a community-based following as some other divisions, along with possibly the worst time slot of the 7. That and weather was so-so: Nighttime game temps in the high 20's, windy during the day but down to 8-9 mph by game time, a little snow.
Division V – Friday, 10:30 a.m. (6,393)
No. 1 Ironton (15-0) vs. No. 2 Canfield South Range (15-0)
Really good community support from both sides, especially given that Ironton has been there 3 of last 4 years; Canfield strong contingent.
Weather was relatively mild but winds were 15-20; dry.
Division III – Friday, 3 p.m. (7,790)
No. 3 Canfield (13-1) vs. Carroll Bloom-Carroll (14-1)
Largest crowd of the 7. Combo of two solid community-backed programs, some history of success in POs but no prior state championship wins.
Weather in high 40's - 50, windy (18-20 mph) but dry.
Division I – Friday, 7:30 p.m. (7,317)
No. 1 Lakewood St. Edward (14-1) vs. No. 4 Springfield (13-1)
Biggest schools, best time slot (Friday night), maybe a disappointing crowd when compared to D-III and D-V. St. Ed isn't the biggest school, community is far-reaching and has been there so often not as special any longer. Springfield - too far, no tradition.
Weather mild, temps in low 50's, but winds were gusting from 19-33 mph; dry.
Division VI – Saturday, 10:30 a.m. (3,960)
No. 1 Maria Stein Marion Local (15-0) vs. No. 2 Kirtland (15-0)
Was surprised this wasn't larger crowd, as this may have been best matchup of the 7. ML fan-base with some championship fatigue, especially given the drive and early start, and the weather was not cooperative. Also fighting the busy Saturday schedule of NCAA games, other interests, etc., and the 10:30 start may have required overnight stay for many in the ML contingent.
Weather: temps started at 50 but dropped during game, with rain most of morning prior to game and winds sustained at 24, gusting to 40.
Division VII – Saturday, 3 p.m. (3,782)
No. 7 New Bremen (12-3) vs. No. 1 Warren John F. Kennedy (13-1)
Smallest school division, NB similar drive as ML, and had won a title not that long ago.
Saturday in December seems just not as appealing as games on Thanksgiving weekend in yesteryear. NCAA conference title games, Christmas parties, etc. competing for time, not to mention weather can be that much worse (though not this year). Even just the thought of potential snow a week in advance will keep some away in December.
Weather: Temps had dropped into 30's by game time, winds sustained at 18, gusting to 23; rain had ended before game.
Division IV – Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
No. 2 Cincinnati Wyoming (15-0) vs. No. 1 Cleveland Glenville (14-0)
Cincinnati team and a Glenville team without much community support - combined with 2nd worst time slot up against Big Ten Championship Game. Not that surprising that crowds were small.
Weather: Temps had dropped to high 20's, wind decreased to sustained at 13, no precip.