Even a hardened college basketball fan like myself, occasionally gets shocked and this week I did for sure.
In looking over college basketball attendance figures this week for 2010-11, as I love looking at attendance figures in all sports, the west coast attendance for college basketball, was, well there is no other way to put it, BAD.
To give some perspective and fairness. The west coast basketball teams have fewer people to draw from than the east coast and in most cases, their arenas are much smaller. Even more, outside of UCLA and Arizona, there is not a lot of tradition, with that said it all comes back that the figures are BAD.
There are 335 teams that play D-1 basketball. Once again, Kentucky lead the nation in average home attendance with 23,600 per game. The Big 10 had the best league average for all teams of 12,826 fans per game. If you take the overall average of every home game played by the 335 teams, that figure is 5,025 per game.
Here is a breakdown of the league average attendance for 2010-11, for the six leagues that have teams that play on the west coast.
1. Mt West-----------------9,122
5. Big Sky-----------------2,288
6. Big West---------------1,924
Basketball fans, those above numbers are NOT good. To make matters a little worse, you can even say the figures are a little skewed by the fact that BYU and San Diego St, ranked 1 and 2 for all 335 teams in overall increases from the previous year, BYU's home attendance increased by 4,685 fans per game and SD State's increase rose by 4,441. (Thank you Jimmer and thank you SD St., for winning 34 games.)
Of all the teams out west, BYU's average home attendance ranked 6th nationally at 18,714 and the only other team to crack the top 20 was Arizona, with an average of 13,680 per home games.
You have my commitment never to bore you with stats, but in this case the numbers DO tell the whole story.
What stands out:
1. There is no way the Pac-10 should let any other west coast leagues beat them in basketball attendance, period, end of story.
2. Four of the west coast leagues as you can see were below the national average.
3. The WCC attendance is pathetic, with four outstanding teams this last year in Gonzaga, St. Mary's, Portland, Santa Clara and a fifth team that was predicted to be good and wasn't in Loyola, yes pathetic.
4. If you take out Arizona from the Pac-10 (I realize you can always play with numbers on this) then the Pac-10 attendance is as pathetic as the WCC, comparison wise.
Larry Scott, Pac-10 commissioner, you can jump up and down all you want about the new TV deal, (rightfully so, possibly. I will have something to say about this subject in the future), but unless you get your Pac-12 numbers up for basketball attendance, your teams' arenas are going to look awfully foolish in HD TV and 3D and your next deal might not be so sweet.
There is one small silver lining for the west coast basketball teams. The average attendance for all 335 D-1 women's teams in 2010-11 was, 1,624 fans per game, so every west coast league beat that, what a badge of honor and what a way to end this story on a high note. (See, I don't throw out low blows, I throw out accuracy.)