Vanderbilt Men's Basketball Attendance Down Almost 22% From Last Season
Vanderbilt's attendance at men’s basketball games this season is off by almost 22% at Memorial Gym from a year ago, "the sharpest drop of the 10 SEC schools that have watched their numbers slide" this season, according to Jeff Lockridge of the Nashville TENNESSEAN. Attendance this season has averaged 10,697, which is “down from 13,698 last year, when Memorial Gym reached capacity (14,316) eight times.” There has been “only one sellout this year,” and Vanderbilt can “thank Kentucky fans for assisting with that.” Vanderbilt allots “2,000 free tickets for the conference’s smallest student body.” The student section was “less than half full for a Wednesday game with rival Tennessee on Feb. 13.” Georgia coach Mark Fox said, “I think it’s maybe a generational problem.” He added, “How do we attract these kids that are so technologically savvy and everything is done instantaneously through their phones, on their iPads?” Lockridge notes even “high-profile programs haven’t been immune to student attendance issues.” Kentucky has made its unsold $5 student tickets “available to the public at regular price for a handful of games this season as Rupp Arena crowds have dipped to less than 23,000 per game.” Vanderbilt “coupled the loss of its top six players from the 2012 SEC Tournament championship team with increases of 5 percent and 10 percent in season-ticket prices, depending on the section.” Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said, “We raised ticket prices. We did some things that are inherently by nature going to cause less people to come, and we did it in a year when we knew we probably weren’t going to be as good. So it doesn’t surprise me that our attendance is down” (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 2/27).