February 16, 2011
On Tuesday night, Missouri beat Texas Tech 92-84 in front of 10,488 fans at Mizzou Arena. It was the smallest Big 12 crowd of the season in the Tigers' six home games. In the hours since, Tiger fans have hotly debated the topic of attendance, as they do virtually every year.
PowerMizzou.com wanted to see how Mizzou stacked up against the rest of the league. Every team in the conference has played either five or six home games. Below is the attendance information from each school so far this season.
|SCHOOL||AVERAGE||HIGH||LOW||% OF CAPACITY||SELLOUTS|
So the question becomes, what does that tell us. First of all, it tells us that Kansas and Kansas State have sold out every league home game. You expect it out of the Jayhawks. The Wildcats had sky-high expectations that they haven't fulfilled, but the fans have still been showing up. Texas has sold out four of five home games and was only 135 short of capacity in the final one. The Horns are in line to be the nation's No. 1 team next week. These three have clearly separated themselves from the rest of the league in terms of attendance, and two of them have separated themselves in terms of performance as well.
The next tier in attendance has Texas A&M (90%) of capacity and Missouri (89%). These teams, over the last few years, have attendance in line with their performances on the floor. The Tigers and Aggies have been a step below the Jayhawks and Longhorns in the Big 12, but right there with Kansas State as the next most successful programs.
Colorado, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Nebraska are all between 79.7% and 84.9% of capacity this season. That puts them sixth through tenth in the league. The Cyclones are 12th in the league standings by two full games, but the others are all right where they belong when you look at attendance versus performance.
Baylor is 11th in the league, filling just 70.9% of seats at the Farrell Center. The Bears are the true outlier in this study. They are coming off an Elite Eight performance. Recruiting is better than it has ever been. They are tied with Missouri for fourth in the league. And nobody is showing up.
Texas Tech brings up the rear, with an average attendance of 9,029 in an arena that seats 15,020. That is just 60.1% of capacity, more than ten percent behind the next lowest team.
So, as it relates to Missouri, the attendance is not as poor as some may paint it to be. Yes, ideally the Tigers would be selling out every game. But, in the Big 12, only three teams are doing that. And two of them will be No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament. The attendance at Mizzou Arena is right in line with the Tigers' place in the league standings. That doesn't explain why only 69.6% of the seats were filled for a critical league game against Texas Tech on Tuesday. However, at this point, that game seems to be more of an anomaly than the norm.