NCAA women’s basketball attendance during the 2015-16 season set an all-time record with 11,366,943 patrons attending games across all three divisions, eclipsing the 11 million mark for the ninth straight season.
Division I attendance in 2015-16 came in at 8,286,356, the highest total in the 35 years of NCAA women’s basketball, eclipsing the previous best of 8,177,111 set in 2012. Division II attendance for women’s basketball came in at 1,781,975, while Division III recorded an increase of more than 67,000 fans to a total of 1,207,038. Attendance figures were kept beginning with the 1982 season.
“What better way to celebrate the conclusion of our 35th anniversary season of NCAA women’s basketball than to hear that more fans attended a women’s game this past season than ever before,” said Anucha Browne, NCAA vice president for women’s basketball championships. “That combined with having all three 2016 divisional championships being played in same city for the first time helped to make it a memorable year for all involved. We look forward to our continued work with the fans, our membership and the stakeholders in growing this great game.”
The 344 Division I teams averaged 1,592 fans per game over 5,204 games or sessions this season.
- The Southeastern Conference set an all-time attendance high for any conference with 1,108,511 fans passing through its turnstiles during home games and conference tournament action. It is the second straight year that the SEC has led the nation in conference attendance.
- The SEC and the Big 12 Conference remain the only two conferences to host more than 1 million fans during the course of a season.
- South Carolina led the nation in home attendance for the second straight season with 14,364 fans per game. Tennessee was second in the nation at 10,412 followed by Iowa State with 9,833. Tennessee (1997-2002, 2004-2014) and South Carolina (2015-16) have led the nation in attendance in 20 of the last 22 seasons.
- Eight Division I conferences saw an all-time high in total attendance (SEC, West Coast, Mid-American, Summit, Mid-Eastern, Horizon, Ivy and Big South) during the 2015-16 season with six of those leagues also drawing an all-time high in average attendance.
- The Division I championship drew 224,189 spectators for an average of 5,338 fans per session over 42 sessions (first and second rounds, regionals and Women’s Final Four). The all-time tournament session average of 7,966 was set in 2003.
- The Division II Championship saw 33,597 fans for an average of 1,050 over 32 sessions. The Division III Championship had 36,1862 fans for an average of 842 over 43 sessions.
- The Division III national championship game between Thomas More and Tufts drew the second largest crowd (6,403) for a Division III game ever and the largest for a championship or tournament game. The largest Division III crowd was 10,250 fans who watched Mount St. Joseph take on Hiram on Nov. 2, 2014.
- In Division II, Northern State took top honors in attendance for the ninth straight season with 2,880 fans over 12 home games. Fort Hays State (2,293), Emporia State (2,028), Augustana (South Dakota) (1,710) and Washburn (1,649) rounded out the top five.
- Hope led Division III in attendance for the eighth consecutive season with an average of 1,313 fans over 16 games. Maryville (Tennessee) (1,035), Dubuque (896), Calvin (807) and Thomas More (723) were the next four leaders.
- For Division II conferences, the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association notched its eighth consecutive attendance title with an average of 1,117 fans per game. The Division III leader was the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with 585 fans per game. It is the third consecutive year the IIAC has led the nation and sixth time in seven years.