In a year where overall home attendance decreased across all of NCAA Division I basketball games, St. John’s found their attendance records on the upswing according to the NCAA attendance report, which was released Tuesday.
Chris Mullin’s first year, with a complete roster overhaul from the previous season, was a struggle on the court and in the stands. But in year two, the Johnnies raised their 2016 average of 6,944 fans up to 8,448 in 2017. The rise of about 1,500 fans found St. John’s ranked number 8 for the largest attendance increase across all of Division I.
With home wins over Butler, Marquette, and Seton Hall (all who qualified for the NCAA tournament), the rise in attendance should come as no surprise.
Overall, St. John’s was seventh in the Big East for home attendance.
Big East 2017 attendance
|55||St. John's (NY)||17||143,632||8,448|
All ten Big East squads found themselves ranked in the top 100 in average attendance. Creighton was ranked the highest, and fifth in the country, with an average attendance of 17,412 fans.
Villanova stayed stagnant, ranked 44th in average attendance.
The Big East conference remained in 5th place in average attendance with 10,014 fans per game. They finished behind the Big Ten (12,235), ACC (11,257), SEC (11,080), and BIG 12 (10,427). However, the conference tournament was ranked second across Division I, with an average attendance of 17,556 across the five sessions, finishing only behind the BIG 12 with 18,972.
In addition to Creighton, the top ten is filled with the usual perennial powers of college basketball: Kentucky (23,461), Syracuse (21,181), Louisville (20,846), North Carolina (18,067), Wisconsin (17,286), Maryland (16,628), Kansas (16,395), Indiana (16,363), and North Carolina St. (15,906).
Creighton (475,768), Villanova (415,840), Xavier (414,748), and Marquette (404,919) were all ranked in the top 30 of attendance across all their games, home road and neutral.
Villanova was ranked seventh with an increase of 1,653, good for one spot ahead of St. John’s. Creighton was ranked ninth in largest increase with an extra 1,471 fans, and Seton Hall found themselves ranked at 18 after an average increase of 947 fans.
The NCAA as a whole saw a decrease of about 111 fans per home game, and neutral site games lost an average of 564 fans per game.
DePaul’s attendance fell under 5,000 fans per game, but with a brand new arena and Justin Roberts and Jaylen Butz (both nationally ranked recruits), the future is looking brighter in Chicago.
Shamorie Ponds told Greg Thompson of News 12 yesterday that St. John’s is viewing this season as NCAA tournament or failure. If Ponds’ prediction pans out, the Johnnies will surely see another in-season spike in attendance.