May 12, 2010

By Gary K. Johnson, NCAA

NCAA men’s basketball attendance for the 2009-10 season surpassed 32 million, the fourth-highest total in history.
Attendance for all three NCAA divisions combined equaled 32,820,701. The record is 33,396,316, set during the 2007-08 season.

Division I attendance in 2010 was also fourth all-time at 27,539,459. The Division I record was set in 2008 at 28,135,901. Division II totaled 2,837,993 fans, while Division III had 2,008,222, just short of last year’s mark and the second-most in that division since 1987.

A record 334 Division I teams averaged 5,245 fans in 5,251 games or sessions this season. That’s down a little more than 133 fans per game from 2009.

For 14 of the last 15 seasons and the fifth straight year, Kentucky led the nation in home attendance average at 24,111 fans per game. Syracuse was second at 22,152. One of those two schools has led the nation in each of the past 34 seasons. Kentucky’s total home attendance of 433,989 was the best for a school since 1993.

For all-game attendance – including home, road and neutral-site games – Kentucky was tops as 724,145 fans watched the Wildcats over 38 games. Ten teams played in front more than a half million fans this season.

The Big Ten Conference led the nation for the 34th consecutive year in conference attendance. The league’s 11 teams totaled 2,442,591 fans, averaging 12,591 per game.

After the Big Ten, the Southeastern (11,770), the Big 12 (11,214), the Big East (11,014) and the Atlantic Coast (10,713) rounded out the top five in conference attendance average per game. The Big 12 was the only one of 31 conferences to set a league best.

Other highlights:
• The 16 teams in the Big East Conference totaled 3,138,877 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 two million fans each. The only conference to set a personal best for total attendance was the West Coast at 346,916.

• Two Division I teams this season enjoyed increased crowds from the previous season of more than 2,000 fans per game. Leading the way was Kansas State with a 2,943-person increase per game from 2009 to 2010. The Wildcats were followed by Arkansas-Pine Bluff (2,019).

• The Division I basketball championship tournament drew 706,246 spectators for an average of 20,178 fans per session over 35 sessions. That total is eighth all-time.

• The Division II tournament totaled 62,553 fans for a 1,691 average over 37 sessions. The Division III tournament had 49,286 fans for a 1,173 average in 42 sessions.

• In Division II, Northern State captured the attendance title for the third straight season, averaging 3,414 fans per game. Next was Elizabeth City State at 3,174, followed by St. Cloud State (3,143), Central Missouri (2,903), Fort Hays State (2,901) and Morehouse (2,900).

• In Division III, Hope ran away with its eighth straight attendance title by averaging 2,836 per game. The rest of the top five were Calvin (2,135), Wisconsin-Stevens Point (1,628), Wooster (1,529) and Carthage (1,426).

• For Division II conferences, the 11 teams of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association recorded it second straight attendance title by averaging 1,691 per game. In Division III, the eight teams of the Michigan Intercollegiate easily earned its 19th consecutive conference title at 1,066 fans per game.