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Volume 25 No. 27

Research and Ratings

Kentucky this season once again led college basketball attendance, averaging 21,875 fans per game at Rupp Arena, although that is down from last season’s average of 23,462. UK has led the nation in 20 of the last 23 seasons, ranking either first or second in average attendance every season since Rupp Arena opened for the '76-77 season. Missouri saw attendance jump 51% this season, the second year in a row of gains since a Mizzou Arena-low of 6,295 in '16. Tennessee also saw a double-digit increase, up over 18% for games at Thompson-Boling Arena. Louisville, which has ranked third in average attendance each season since KFC Yum! Center opened in '10, slipped to No. 4 this season, down nearly 15% in attendance in the wake of turbulence within the athletic department. Attendance also dipped at Maryland for a second season. Creighton had the best attendance for a non-Power Five school, ranking No. 6 overall with 17,000 fans per game. BYU, Dayton, Marquette and Utah are the other non-Power Five schools ranked within the top 25 (Brandon McClung, SBJ Research Associate).

MEN'S D-I BASKETBALL REGULAR-SEASON ATTENDANCE
RANK
SCHOOL
AVG.
PREV.
% +/-
'16-17 RANK
1
Kentucky
21,875
23,462
-6.8%
1
2
Syracuse
21,462
22,682
-5.4%
2
3
North Carolina
18,379
18,067
1.7%
4
4
Louisville
17,773
20,846
-14.7%
3
5
Wisconsin
17,272
17,286
-0.1%
6
6
Creighton
17,000
17,413
-2.4%
5
7
Kansas
16,345
16,395
-0.3%
8
8
Tennessee
16,210
13,637
18.9%
20
9
Arkansas
16,181
15,247
6.1%
12
10
Indiana
15,591
16,364
-4.7%
9
11
Nebraska
15,492
15,427
0.4%
11
12
N.C. State
15,253
15,907
-4.1%
10
13
Missouri
15,061
9,930
51.7%
40
14
Michigan State
14,797
14,797
0.0%
14
15
Maryland
14,676
16,628
-11.7%
7
16
Arizona
14,434
14,410
0.2%
15
17
Purdue
14,344
13,819
3.8%
18
18
BYU
14,231
14,901
-4.5%
13
19
Iowa State
14,121
14,275
-1.1%
16
20
Virginia
13,924
14,245
-2.3%
17
21
Marquette
13,857
13,716
1.0%
19
22
Ohio State
13,495
12,324
9.5%
26
23
Alabama
13,391
12,442
7.6%
24
24
Dayton
12,997
13,018
-0.2%
22
25
Utah
12,673
12,519
1.2%
23
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College Hoops Attendance

NEW DEAL ON THE HORIZON? In Detroit, Tony Paul notes the Horizon League "can claim progress" with this year's conference tournaments at Little Caesars Arena, but whether it is "enough to save the basketball championships in Detroit, well, that’s going to be a heavily-debated topic" when Commissioner Jon LeCrone and Olympia Entertainment CEO Tom Wilson sit down in the coming weeks. The league announced yesterday that attendance at its men’s and women’s championships was up again in '18, but the "uptick was modest -- to 30,228 fans for the five-day event." That is "up less than 1,000 from a year ago." The Horizon League this year "offered free admission to Detroit Public Schools for the first three days of the tournament, several young Detroit students were bussed in for the women’s championship game last Tuesday, and each of the 10 Horizon League members were forced to buy ticket blocks." It is "unclear how many tickets the institutions were required to buy." Little Caesars Arena "didn’t come close to filling up for any of the five days, March 2-6, despite the upper deck being curtained off." Paul notes the men’s contract runs through '20, though Olympia does have an "opt-out available after this, the third year" (DETROIT NEWS, 3/14).