Basketball Buckeyes Rank Top 10 Nationally in Attendance
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The latest college basketball attendance numbers have been released, and the Big Ten Conference stands alone.
While the University of Kentucky took home the top spot in the country for attendance this season—an average of 23,721 per game—it was the Big Ten topping the SEC for overall attendance figures across the 12 institutions.
Thanks in large part to the return of star big man Jared Sullinger, Ohio State finished No. 2 in the Big Ten in total attendance this past season, and No. 8 nationally. Only Wisconsin (17,181) averaged more fans per game than the Buckeyes (16,511), but Ohio State was actually No. 1 in the B1G in total attendance for 2011-12.
Value City Arena, where the Buckeyes play their home games in Columbus, holds as many as 18,809 people for a basketball game.
Thad Matta and his Buckeyes played two more home games than Bo Ryan and the Badgers, which put them over the top with a total attendance of 330,210 for the year. Ohio State was also tops in the Big Ten for total attendance of all Division I games (home, road, neutral).
The Buckeyes drew a total of 689,240 to their games this past season, which trailed only Kentucky (885,953), Louisville (809,104) and Syracuse (722,890). Along with Ohio State, the Big Ten had four teams in the top 10 in that category, including Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan State at No. 7, 8 and 9, respectively.
The Big Ten, SEC and Big 12 conferences each improved attendance numbers, while the Big East, Atlantic Coast and Pac-12 conference all saw a dip in attendance during the 2011-12 season.
The Pac-12 took the biggest hit in attendance numbers of the major conference. Their 12 universities combined to averaged 7,143 fans per game, down 665 per game from the previous season.
Ohio State was among the largest gainers in attendance across the country. The Buckeyes average attendance of 16,511 was up 1,386 from last year’s attendance. That was the No. 1 improvement for attendance in the Big Ten, and the 10th best attendance jump in the entire country.
Only Creighton and Alabama rated higher among programs which draw 10,000 fans or more per game. Indiana was also on that list at No. 14, up 1,203 from last season. The Hoosiers rated No. 9 overall in average attendance this past season.
2012 DIVISION I BASKETBALL ATTENDANCE TEAM LEADERS
- Kentucky 426,978 (23,721)
- Syracuse 448,736 (23,618)
- Louisville 430,052 (21,503)
- North Carolina 362,867 (20,159)
- Wisconsin 309,255 (17,181)
- Creighton 266,632 (16,665)
- Tennessee 314,321 (16,543)
- Ohio State 330,210 (16,511)
- Indiana 312,770 (16,462)
- Kansas 279,557 (16,445)
The Big Ten (2,856,785) did not actually lead the country in total attendance. That honor went to the Big East, which tallied 3,133,782 in 288 games. Big Ten teams played 66 fewer games, and averaged 12,868 fans per game, across the board.
That number was tops among all conferences in college basketball. The SEC was second in average attendance (11,513) and third in total attendance (2,475,188) this past season. The Big 12 came in third in average attendance (11,057) and the Big East was fourth at 10,881 per night.
Surprisingly, the Mountain West (7,800) came in ahead of the Pac-12 (7,143) in average attendance, although part of that is due to the fact the conference currently has only eight members.
How the Big Ten Fared Nationally (Average Attendance):
5. Wisconsin 309,255 (17,181)
8. Ohio State 330,210 (16,511)
9. Indiana 312,770 (16,462)
14. Illinois 269,739 (14,986)
15. Michigan State 266,346 (15,797)
21. Purdue 226,504 (13,324)
31. Iowa 237,382 (11,869)
33. Minnesota 224,080 (11,794)
34. Michigan 182,974 (11,436)
40. Nebraska 170,324 (10,019)
77. Penn State 117,933 (6,937)
90. Northwestern 101,531 (5,972)
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