The NCAA released attendance figures for the 2010-2011 men's basketball season and as expected it was another big year for college basketball. A total of 27,626,165 fans packed arenas across the country to see a game. That was just on the Division I level. When you add in the Division II & III the number rises to 32,820,701 fans.
Attendance for Division I games was up 86, 706 from the 2009-2010 season for a total of 27,539,165. The Final Four in Houston set a record for the national semi-finals attendance of 75,421. The 70,376 that attended the national title game between Connecticut and Butler made it the third most attended national title game. The total attendance of 145,797 beat the old record on 145,378 from 2009 in Detroit.
So what teams lead the way in basketball attendance?
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On the Division I level, you find the usual suspects up near the top. For the sixth straight year Kentucky leads the way with an average attendance of 23,603 fans. Kentucky played in Rupp Arena 15 times this past season with a total 354,046 fans in attendance. Syracuse was second with an average of 22,312. Louisville was third with 21,832 in the new YUM! Center. North Carolina averaged 19,144 and Tennessee rounded out the Top 5 with an average of 18,952.
BYU and San Diego State, who were two of the surprise teams in college basketball during the 2010-2011 season saw the benefits of their success. BYU saw its average attendance rise to 18,714 per home game this year, an increase of 4,685 over last season. San Diego State averaged 11,668 per home game, up 4,441 per game from 2010. Louisville's new arena brought in 2,435 more a game from Freedom Hall. St. John's averaged 2,324 more from last season. Iowa was fifth with an increase of 2,085.
The Big Ten was the best conference overall for college basketball average attendance for the 35th year in a row. A total of 2,475,440 fans watched Big Ten teams play, which averaged out to 12,826 per game. The Big East was second at 11,323 per game. The SEC was third with an average of 11,187. Fourth was the Big 12 with 10,716 per game and ACC was fifth with 10,266.
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The Big East was the top conference for overall attendance as 3,170,540 total fans watched a Big East team play. The rest of the top five conferences each had over two million fans attend games. The top ten conferences had over 1 million fans each watching teams from their conference play.
For Division II college basketball Northern State in South Dakota lead the country in average attendance for the year. They had a total of 45,234 attend 15 home games for an average of 3,016 per game. Benedict College from South Carolina was second with 2,785 per game. Dixie State in Utah was third with 2,735 per game. Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina was fourth at 2,568 a game and Midwestern State was fifth at 2,533 a game.
The Mid-America Conference was the top conference in Division II with an average attendance of 1,330 per game. Next was the Northern Sun Conference with 1,321 per game, the CIAA was next at 1,190, the Great Lakes Valley 1,092 and the SIAC 1,014 rounded out the top five. The Northern Sun Conference actually had the best attendance overall with 254,992 people watching a conference team play.
For Division III, Hope College in Michigan had the best overall and average attendance in the 2010-2011 season. 39,451 people attended a game at Hope, an average of 2,818 fans a game. Wooster was second with 2,016 per game, followed by Calvin with 1,792, Whitworth with 1,470, and Maryville (TN) with 1,420.
The top conference in Division III for average attendance was Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association with 905 fans a game. The College Conference of Illinois Wisconsin was next with 819, the North Coast Athletic Conference averaged 743, Ohio Athletic Conference averaged 736, and the Northwest Conference averaged 631 a game to round out the top 5. The best overall attendance belongs to the Ohio Athletic Conference with 89,819 fans seeing their games.
Overall it was another strong showing of fan support for all levels of NCAA basketball. It was not as good as last season. While Division I rose, the total for all three divisions fell 188,884 from the 2009-2010 season which was 32,820,701.
Even though total attendance dropped from last year, it is still good for fifth place all time. Average attendance finished fourth all time. Even in these rough economic times with the rise of travel and tickets, fans still find a way to support their team.
Check out our 2010 - 2011 SEC Basketball Attendance Numbers.
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