Three More Thoughts: Digging Deeper With the NCAA Annual Attendance Report

Posted by BHayes on August 16th, 2013

Bennet Hayes is an RTC columnist. He can be reached @HoopsTraveler.

The NCAA released attendance information from the 2012-13 season this week, with findings ranging from the very interesting — how about those Creighton Bluejays! — to the entirely irrelevant – I don’t think anyone was wondering how many fans came out to watch Fairmont State last season. But amid all the triviality were a few important nuggets.  Yahoo.com came up with a few interesting tidbits from the data earlier in the week, but here are three more observations worth noting.

NIT Be Damned, Big Blue Nation Packed, On Average, 23,009 Strong Into Rupp Arena Last Season, Most In The Nation

NIT Be Damned, Big Blue Nation Packed, On Average, 23,009 Strong Into Rupp Arena Last Season — Once Again Good For Most In The Nation

  1. Who said the SEC only paid attention to football? The 23,000 that packed Rupp Arena on a nightly basis last season certainly helped the conference’s cause, but six other SEC programs ranked in the top 40 nationally in average attendance – a total that only the Big Ten (12 teams) could top. Furthermore, the conference placed third nationally in overall average attendance — and this despite seeing that number drop over 900 fans a game from its 2011-12 level. Only the WAC, decimated by the departures of Nevada, Hawaii and Fresno State, saw a sharper drop in ticket sales last year. The SEC may be more guilty of the “there are 10,000 fans here but the arena is still only half full” phenomenon than any other league – a trick that isn’t exactly an atmosphere-maker – but in what was a far cry from a banner year for the conference, the overall attendance figures both surprise and impress. There is sport after January down south after all!
  2. Let’s be careful not to make a direct correlation between average attendance figures and overall program success, or even fan interest. The easiest way to prove this point is to take a look at the program that finished 47th nationally in average attendance. Duke may be behind 46 teams on this list, but a consecutive home sellout streak dating back to 1990 should be enough to ease any concern with that metric. On the flip side, there are a number of teams with pretty solid average attendance figures, but also with half-empty arenas and relatively disinterested fan bases. Among teams in the top 40 that fit this bill are Tennessee (#8), Arkansas (#20), Texas (#32) and Nebraska (#38). It’s always better to have more fans than less, but program expectations, arena size, and athletic department budget (gasp!) should all be considered in conjunction with this raw data. Read the rest of this entry »
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Morning Five: 11.21.12 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on November 21st, 2012

  1. With Maryland having already committed to play for the Big Ten, the announcement that Rutgers would be following them was merely a formality. Yesterday, Rutgers made it official that it would be leaving the Big East for the Big Ten and the riches of its upcoming college football contract. With both schools brushing aside exit fees that were in the not too distant past considered exorbitant it raises the question of how high these fees will have to get to become a legitimate deterrent to schools considering an exit from their conference. Clearly $50 million isn’t enough — so with the size of these television contracts continuing to grow, fees may need to approach $100 million to keep future schools from leaving.
  2. Now that he has finished informing the nation on which candidate would be our president for the next four years, Nate Silver is back to deal with the important stuff — sports. Yesterday, Silver looked at the potential impact of Maryland and Rutgers entering the Big Ten. Utilizing Google search traffic data for the search term “college football,” Silver looked at 210 major media markets and determined that Rutgers may actually be a more valuable commodity than Maryland, but not by as much as many are claiming due to its location within the New York market. Our issue with this analysis, which we think we have mentioned in this space before, is that hardcore fans aren’t searching for such generic terms, but he at least makes the effort.
  3. Penn State struggled through much of last season, but the Nittany Lions were usually worth checking out on occasion because of Tim Frazier, one of the most dynamic players in the Big Ten. This year promised to be a better one for PSU, but now that Frazier is done for the year after rupturing his Achilles tendon the Nittany Lions may be in for another long season. Frazier, a first-team All-Big Ten guard last season, plans to apply for a medical redshirt. While we didn’t expect much from Penn State this season, the injury is a tremendous setback for Frazier’s chances of playing professionally. We wish Frazier the best of luck in his rehab and look forward to seeing him back in a Nittany Lion uniform soon.
  4. It took a while for the national college basketball writers assembled in Brooklyn last night to realize it, but the biggest news of the evening had nothing to do with #1 Indiana’s overtime win versus Georgetown (and, seriously, how many different Georgetown columns can this group write?). Rather, it had everything to do with a 5’10″ sophomore named Jack Taylor from Division III Grinnell College in Iowa. Playing in a wild offensive system (unimaginatively called “The System”) developed by head coach David Arseneault, Taylor hoisted 108 shots on his way to an NCAA record 138-point evening, going 52-for-108 from the field including a ridiculous 27 threes (on 71 attempts). Let’s hope that this kid is ready for the whirlwind because he’s already been on Sportscenter and all of the morning and late night talk shows surely can’t be far behind.
  5. On Monday, we mentioned how ridiculous it was that North Carolina was essentially getting a free pass from much of the media surrounding its growing academic scandal. It seems like someone was listening. The only thing is that it was not someone at the NCAA, but instead a North Carolina state senator who is calling for a criminal probe into the situation. While we think that this merits a formal inquiry at the state level, we doubt that there will ever be any criminal proceedings as a result of it. Still, given the apparent breadth and reach of this sham, we would not be opposed to seeing a few heads roll at what is supposed to be an institution of higher learning.
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