The official NCAA attendance figures have been released, and as usual, the Big Ten remains the most popular conference. However, total attendance (including the NCAA tournament and neutral site games) was down for the 6th straight year, this time by about 60 people a game. The attendance is based on averages though, and with more small teams joining Division I, that's not a very good way to do it.
The power conference schools dominated the attendance figures, with only Creighton slipping into the top-10 (No. 6). Memphis (No. 11), BYU (No. 13), UNLV (No. 14) and New Mexico (No. 16) were all in the top-20.
The least watched college basketball team? New Jersey Institute of Technology, which averaged 489 fans per contest (7 fewer than Colgate).
Later, I'll post a more thorough analysis based on capacity, but for now - here's a look at trends in the BCS conferences.
For the past gazillion years the Big Ten has attracted the most fans. This year was no different. The ACC and the Pac 12 both ended their 4-year slides. Their weak brands are turning things around.
Now the ACC, Big 12, SEC, and Big East are in a tight cluster in between the top (Big Ten) and bottom (Pac 12). But the Big East/AAC is losing Syracuse (No. 2 in attendance nationally), and will lose Louisville next year (No. 3). Uh oh. The Big East's loss is the ACC's gain.
More on that later.