College hoops attendance dips again in 2016-17; Kentucky, Cuse, Louisville top draws
The NCAA Tournament's attendance went up, while regular-season attendance dropped again
The NCAA Tournament continues to increase in on-site popularity. On Tuesday, the NCAA released attendance figures for men's basketball for the 2016-17 season, including data for 347 D-I men's teams, reflecting a slight dip for the third straight season. The Big Dance had 720,449 paying customers in March and April. On the whole, college basketball sold nearly 24.5 million tickets last season.
In 2015-16, regular-season attendance was a notch higher than last season, coming in at nearly 24.8 million. The postseason jump for 2016-17 is significant: 2015-16 had 703,854 tickets sold vs. nearly 17,000 more in 2016-17.
Here are big numbers, and the top 20 programs in attendance for 2016-17.
Once again, Kentucky Wildcats averaged the most fans per game. As usual, Syracuse Orange was right behind. The Orange play in the Carrier Dome, which has the highest seating capacity (34,616) of any Division I venue.
Here's the top 20 attendance figured, broken down by total and average:
North Carolina Tar Heels
NC State Wolfpack
Michigan State Spartans
Brigham Young Cougars
Iowa State Cyclones
Marquette Golden Eagles
Some takeaways: North Carolina State was No. 10 despite finishing 15-17 and Nebraska No. 11 despite a 12-19 season. BYU (No. 14) and Tennessee (No. 20) cracked the top 20 but also failed to reach the NCAA Tournament.
Maryland, Alabama Crimson Tide and LSU Tigers had the largest year-over-year bumps, with Maryland bringing in 5,169 more fans per game than 2015-16. That's nearly double Alabama's second-place increase of 2,934. LSU was up 2,485 per game in the first season after Ben Simmons .
The Big Ten, for the 41st consecutive season, led all conferences, averaging 12,235 fans per game, beating out the ACC (11,257) and SEC (11,080). All of those averages are lower than 2015-16, though the Big East (9,770 to 10,014) did see an uptick. For full attendance figures, click here.
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