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Publish date: Apr 26, 2011

Men’s basketball attendance tops 32 million again

By Gary K. Johnson
NCAA.org

Men’s basketball attendance for all three NCAA divisions during the 2010-11 season equaled 32,820,701, the fifth-highest all-time.

NCAA Men's Basketball Attendance


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All Divisions

Attendance Year Teams Average
33,396,316 2008 1,017 2,393
33,111,020 2009 1017 2,365
32,835,863 2007 982 2,449
32,820,701 2010 1,033 2,302
32,631,817 2011 1,027 2,301
30,939,715 2006 984 2,351
30,760,510 2004 981 2,355
30,568,645 2005 983 2,327
30,124,304 2003 967 2,339
29,395,240 2002 936 2,373

Division I

Attendance Year Teams Average
28,135,901 2008 328 5,524
27,767,111 2009 330 5,378
27,705,912 2007 325 5,548
27,626,165 2011 335 5,237
27,539,459 2010 334 5,245
25,808,346 2006 326 5,426
25,548,468 2004 326 5,443
25,366,317 2005 326 5,334
25,001,678 2003 325 5,372
24,499,611 2002 321 5,287

Division I leaders

Team Games Attendance Average
Kentucky 15 354,046 23,603
Syracuse 19 423,924 22,312
Louisville 21 458,463 21,832
North Carolina 15 287,155 19,144
Tenneesee 18 341,130 18,952
BYU 14 261,989 18,714
Wisconsin 16 275,680 17,230
Memphis 19 318,601 16,768
Kansas 18 295,856 16,436
Illinois 16 253,623 15,851

Division II leaders

Team Games Attendance Average
Northern St. 15 45,234 3,016
Benedict 13 36,210 2,785
Dixie St. 9 24,611 2,735
Winston-Salem 11 28,253 2,568
Midwestern St. 14 35,459 2,533

Division III leaders

Team Games Attendance Average
Hope 14 39,451 2,818
Wooster 19 38,307 2,016
Calvin 13 23,301 1,792
Whitworth 15 22,047 1,470
Maryville (TN) 9 12,781 1,420

The record is 33,396,316 from the 2008 season.

Division I attendance in 2011 was fourth all-time at 27,626,165 and showed an increase of 86,706 fans from 2010. The record was set in 2008 at 28,135,901. Division II totaled 2,695,025 fans and Division III attracted 1,962,344.

Overall attendance for 2010-11 was down about one-half percent from the previous year.

Kentucky led the nation in home attendance average at 23,603 fans per game. It was the 15th time in the last 16 seasons and the sixth straight year that Wildcat fans led the way. Syracuse was second at 22,312. One of those two schools has led the nation in each of the past 35 seasons.

Louisville took advantage of 21 home games to lead the nation in total home attendance with 458,463 fans. Next was Syracuse (423,924 in 19 games), Kentucky (354,046 in 15), Tennessee (341,130 in 18), Memphis (318,601 in 19) and Ohio State (302,498 in 20).

For all-game attendance – including home, road and neutral site games – Kentucky was tops as 755,748 fans watched the Wildcats over 38 games. Twelve teams played in front more than a half million fans this season.

The Big Ten Conference led the nation for the 35th consecutive year in conference attendance. Its 11 teams totaled 2,475,440 fans and averaged 12,826 per game.

After the Big Ten, the Big East (11,323), Southeastern (11,187), Big 12 (10,716) and Atlantic Coast (10,266) rounded out the top five in conference attendance average per game.

The 16 teams of the Big East totaled 3,170,540 fans, the second most ever for a conference. The record is 3,259,992 by the Big East in 2007.

The top five conferences in average attendance were also the only leagues to total more than 2 million fans each. However, four of the 31 Division I conferences set a league best for total attendance. The four were the Mountain West (previous best was in 2003), West Coast (2010), Mid-Eastern (2003) and Northeast (2000).

Other attendance highlights from 2010-11:

  • A high was set for Division I neutral-site games that were not NCAA tournament games. In these 235 neutral-site games, a record 1,788,364 fans went through the turnstiles.
  • A record 335 Division I teams averaged 5,237 fans in a record 5,275 games or sessions this season. That’s down a little more than eight fans per game from 2010.
  • Two Division I teams this season enjoyed increased crowds from the previous season of more than 4,000 fans per game. Leading the way was BYU with a 4,685-person increase per game from 2010 to 2011. The Cougars were 32-5 and featured the national player of the year in Jimmer Fredette. San Diego State also featured a large increase with 4,441 fans more at each game than last year as the Aztecs were 34-3 and reached their highest poll rankings ever with a week at No. 4.
  • The Division I basketball championship tournament drew 690,679 spectators for an average of 19,186 fans per session over 36 sessions. That total is 10th all-time.
  • The Division II tournament totaled 57,522 fans for a 1,598 average over 36 sessions. The Division III tournament had 61,506 fans for a 1,464 average in 42 sessions. It’s the first time since 2006 that the DIII tournament total attendance was higher than the DII total.
  • In Division II, Northern State captured the attendance title for the fourth straight season, averaging 3,016 fans per game. Next was Benedict at 2,785, followed by Dixie State (2,735), Winston-Salem (2,568), and Midwestern State (2,533).
  • In Division III, Hope ran away with its ninth straight attendance title by averaging 2,818 per game. The rest of the top five were Wooster (2,016), Calvin (1,792), Whitworth (1,470), and Maryville (Tennessee) (1,420).
  • For Division II conferences, the 12 teams of the Mid-America Intercollegiate recorded the league’s third straight attendance title by averaging 1,330 per game, which just edged the Northern Sun’s 1,321 fans per game. In Division III, the eight teams of the Michigan Intercollegiate won a 20th consecutive conference title with 905 fans per game.

Gary K. Johnson is NCAA associate director of statistics