Following a nationwide trend at NCAA Division I arenas across the country, Green Bay Phoenix mens basketball attendance was down 2.7% in 2017 compared to 2016.
The Phoenix averaged 2,948 fans at the Resch Center for home games this past season compared to 3,029 in 2016 according to attendance information released by the NCAA yesterday.
Despite falling below the 3,000 fans per game threshold for the first time since 2002, Green Bay’s attendance number actually fairs better than the vast majority of the Horizon League as seven conference programs saw their home game attendance drop by at least 7% or more, including five which saw double digit decreases.
Wright State led the league in attendance again as it has done every year since Butler left the conference in 2012, averaging 4,033 fans per game this season, down 7.4% per game from 2016. New Missouri Valley Conference member Valparaiso was second averaging 3,086 fans per game, down 13.6% from 2016.
Green Bay and Oakland round out the top four with the Grizzlies averaging 2,875 fans per game, a 7.2% decrease from 2016.
Youngstown State and Northern Kentucky were the only Horizon League schools to increase their per game attendance year-over-year.
The reigning Horizon League Tournament champion Norse boosted their attendance to 2,824 fans per game – a 23% increase from 2016 – and will likely see a nice bump again this season after making their first NCAA Tournament appearance this past March. The Penguins increased their attendance to 2,489 – a 23.6% increase from 2016.
Milwaukee suffered the biggest loss at the gate this season, falling from 2,667 fans per game in 2016 to just 1,460 per game this year, a 45.3% decrease. Cleveland State (-26.8%), Detroit Mercy (-19.5%) and UIC (11.5%) also sustained double-digit losses in attendance in 2017.
New Horizon League member IUPUI would have been last in attendance this past season averaging just 1,054 fans per game.
Nationwide, Division I men’s college basketball attendance fell 2.3% from 4,744 fans per game in 2016 to 4,633 per game this year.
2017 Horizon League men’s basketball attendance: