Women’s hoops attendance tops 11M
Divisions I, III set all-time records; Lady Vols lead home gate
NCAA women’s basketball attendance for the 2010-11 season surpassed 11 million for the fourth consecutive year as record highs were achieved in Divisions I and III. Attendance for all three NCAA divisions was 11,159,837, good for second all-time and just short of the record 11,160,293 set in 2008-09.
Division I attendance in 2010-11 led the way with an all-time high of 8,127,779. The Division I record had been 8,090,084 set in 2007-08. Division II totaled 1,692,085 fans, while Division III also set a record at 1,206,054.
A record 333 Division I teams averaged 1,642 fans in 4,949 games or sessions this season, up slightly from 2009-10. The record of 1,693 fans per game was set in 2007-08.
For 14 of the past 15 seasons and for the eighth consecutive year, Tennessee led the nation in home attendance at 12,599 fans per game. Louisville took the runner-up spot at 10,859, while Connecticut was third at 9,788. Either Tennessee or Connecticut has led the nation every year since 1995. They were the only two schools to top 200,000 total fans (Tennessee at 214,187 and Connecticut at 215,328).
For all-game attendance – including home, road and neutral-site games – Tennessee was also tops as 352,488 fans watched the Volunteers in 37 games. Connecticut with 331,398 spectators was the only other team to draw more than 300,000. Six teams (Baylor, Notre Dame, Louisville, Texas A&M, Iowa State and Purdue) topped the 200,000 mark.
The Big 12 Conference led all leagues at 1,005,377 fans in 2010-11 but couldn’t top its record-setting season of 1,091,289 fans from the previous year. The Big 12 led the nation for the 12th consecutive year in conference attendance. The league’s 12 teams averaged 4,720 per game, falling short of its own national record from 2003-04 of 5,381.
After the Big 12, the Big Ten (4,161), Southeastern (3,768), Big East (3,446) and Atlantic Coast (2,647) rounded out the top five in per-game averages. Several conferences set league bests in total attendance. They were the Big East, Ohio Valley, Mid-American, West Coast, Mid-Eastern, Atlantic Sun and Southland. The Big East, OVC, Southwestern, WCC and A-Sun also set highs for average per game.
• Louisville led all teams in the largest improvement in attendance from the previous season. The Cardinals averaged 10,859 fans per home game, 4,462 more per game than in 2009-10.
• The Division I championship tournament drew 248,702 spectators for an average of 5,921 fans per session during 42 sessions (first and second rounds, regionals and the Final Four). That is well above the 5,515 average in 42 sessions last year but short of the all-time tournament session average of 7,966 set in 2003.
• The Division II tournament saw 34,680 fans after the 2010 tournament had set a record of 56,430. The reason for the drop was that the tournament format switched from 44 sessions in 2010 to 36 in 2011. The 2011 average during those 36 sessions was 963 fans a game.
• The Division III tournament had 37,415 fans for an 891 average in 42 sessions.
• In Division II, Northern State captured the attendance title for the fourth consecutive season, averaging 2,399 fans per game. Next was Emporia State at 2,051, followed by Benedict (1,924) and Washburn (1,854).
• In Division III, Hope ran away with its third consecutive attendance title by averaging 1,546 per game, just short of the record 1,549 set by Howard Payne in 2007-08. The rest of the top five were Howard Payne (953), Coe (790), George Fox (769) and Wartburg (740).
• For Division II conferences, the 12 teams of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association recorded a third consecutive attendance title by averaging 1,067 per game. In Division III, the nine teams of the Iowa Intercollegiate earned the league’s ninth title all-time at 507 fans per game.