College hoops attendance dips again in 2016-17; Kentucky, Cuse, Louisville top draws

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. 

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Via NCAA

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:  

Rank

School

Total attendance

Per game

1

Kentucky

398,850

23,461

2

Syracuse

444,809

21,181

3


Louisville Cardinals

354,390

20,846

4


North Carolina Tar Heels

289,075

18,067

5


Creighton Bluejays

296,013

17,412

6


Wisconsin Badgers

293,870 

17,286

7


Maryland Terrapins

299,306

16,628

8


Kansas Jayhawks

262,320

16.395

9


Indiana Hoosiers

294,549

16.363

10


NC State Wolfpack

286,322

15.906

11


Nebraska Cornhuskers

246,832

15,427

12


Arkansas Razorbacks

274,446

15,247 

13


Michigan State Spartans

236,752

14,797

14


Brigham Young Cougars

260,569

14,476

15


Arizona Wildcats

230,560 

14,410

16


Iowa State Cyclones

214,130

14,275

17


Virginia Cavaliers

227,922

14,245

18


Purdue Boilermakers

234,930

13,819

19


Marquette Golden Eagles

233,169

13,715

20


Tennessee Volunteers

218,190

13,636

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 42nd 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

Source