On Wednesday afternoon, the NCAA released an attendance report for the 2012-2013 season, and if you needed another example of why Kentucky fans are undoubtedly the most passionate in the country, you’ve got it.
In the most disappointing season in recent memory for the Wildcats, Big Blue Nation still managed to lead the country in per-game attendance, playing an average of 23,099 rear ends in Rupp Arena seats last year. That happened during a season where Kentucky was bounced in the first round of the NIT and, for the last three months of the season, a non-factor nationally.
Here’s your top five programs in terms of attendance, none of which should really come as a surprise:
- 1. Kentucky: 23,099
- 2. Syracuse: 22,439
- 3. Louisville: 21,571
- 4. North Carolina: 19,350
- 5. Indiana: 17,412
What may come as a surprise to casual college hoops fans is that Creighton came in sixth in the nation in attendance in 2012-2013, drawing 17,155 fans per game. The good folks of Omaha, NE, really care about their hoops. That’s a major reason why the Bluejays were picked to join the new Big East this offseason. Well, that and Doug McDermott.
A couple of other notes from the report:
- Realignment has made categorizing the leagues a nightmare, but for simplicity’s sake, the schools with the highest attendance outside the five BCS football leagues: Creighton (17,155), Memphis (16,336), BYU (15,986), UNLV (15,196), New Mexico (15,022).
- Duke is all the way down at 47th, behind the likes of Wake Forest, Nebraska, Texas, Alabama and Vanderbilt, but that has everything to do with the fact that Cameron Indoor Stadium only seats 9,314 people. Duke’s average attendance last season? 9,314.
- 28 programs averaged less than 1,00 fans per game. The most surprising? Boston University, which actually has a pretty strong hoops program. The five schools with the lowest average attendance: NJIT (489), Colgate (496), Fairleigh Dickinson (574), New Orleans (579), St. Francis (NY) (582)
- The five-lowest attendance figures for teams from the major conferences: USC (4,243), Boston College (4,244), Stanford (4,350), Oregon St. (4,784), TCU (4,854). If you want to include all of the AAC into the conversation, these three schools jump into the mix: Houston (3,707), UCF (4,523), SMU (3,443).
- Just missing the cut in the five-lowest attendance BCS conference programs: Oregon State. Do the math, and four of the six worst drawing major conference programs come from the Pac-12.
- The top ten conferences in terms of attendance look like this:
One thing to remember here: these attendance numbers are based on what the reported number of tickets sold are, not how many people attend each game. For example, DePaul reported their attendance as 7,938 last season, but according to ChicagoBusiness.com, they actually got 2,610 fans per game.
That’s a big difference.