HBCU homecomings are the capstone social events for their institutions. By design, they are the ultimate opportunity to connect the communities of a black college – students, alumni and neighbors. Through this connection, the game and accompanying events bolster local economy, generate goodwill for institutions, and hopefully, spur greater support for the advancement of the school.
Here are five of the top HBCU homecomings that bring in the people, the revenue and the acclaim for their campus communities.
5. Tennessee State University - Given their size, tradition and history in the state, the Land of Golden Sunshine is one of the top homecoming attractions in the nation, bringing in more than 21,500 fans in 2010.
4. Alabama State University - Also known as the Turkey Day Classic, the Alabama State homecoming is an economic powerhouse for Montgomery, drawing in a slew of events and coverage for the annual game against in-state rival Tuskegee University. Last year’s draw – 17,882 fans.
3. North Carolina A&T State University - Known as the ‘Greatest Homecoming on Earth,’ the A&T homecoming has been the subject of student and alumni produced documentaries, clothing lines, and YouTube classics. Attendance at the 2010 edition of GHOE – 21,500
2. Florida A&M University - The most successful football program on the list is the FAMU Rattlers, and considering their large fan base, reach with local media and institutional marketing savvy, it’s not surprising that the FAMU homecoming drew more than 30,000 fans.
1. Howard University - Howard’s facilities don’t allow for big gate receipts on the day of the football game (HU did not place among the top 20 HBCU homecomings in attendance in 2010) but it is the signature event for HBCU culture, and has a larger economic impact on Washington D.C. than any other HBCU has on its city. HU’s homecoming events bring in a slew of celebrities, media and cultural acclaim, and create economic opportunities in and around campus for those lucky enough to clear club space or a vendor booth.