Tuesday , August 08, 2017 - 7:20 PM
Men’s basketball programs in Utah continue to successfully draw fans, according to attendance figures for the 2016-17 season released by the NCAA on Tuesday.
The Wildcats drew 6,869 fans per game last season, good for 78th nationally among 351 Division-I schools. That mark is the school’s best since Randy Rahe took over the program in the 2006-07 season and is up from 6,785 fans per game one year ago.
Weber State has led the Big Sky in attendance for the ninth straight season and 14 of the last 16 years. It’s the seventh straight season the Wildcats have appeared in national top 100 and the sixth straight drawing more than 6,000 fans per game.
Even within the top 100, the Wildcats outdrew power-conference programs such as Washington, Virginia Tech, Mississippi State, Baylor, Missouri, Oregon State and Arizona State.
In the Big Sky, Weber State outdrew second-best Montana (3,955) by nearly 3,000 fans per game. In the state, the Wildcats had nearly identical crowds to Utah State, which averaged 6,872 fans per game.
Part of Weber State’s attendance success comes from having an arena to support the crowd, something BYU and Utah also use to their advantage to rank well nationally despite the area’s smaller population base.
BYU and its massive Marriott Center drew 14,476 fans per game last season, good for 14th nationally. Utah averaged 12,050 fans per game at the Huntsman Center, 26th nationally.
Fledgling Utah Valley continues to increase its attendance, now up to 2,939 fans per game compared to 2,086 in the 2014-15 season.
Still trailing in the state, Southern Utah averaged 1,846 fans per game, its best mark in the last four seasons.
Attendance for Utah schools in 2016-17
(National rank, if in top 100)
BYU: 14,476 (14)
Utah: 12,050 (26)
Utah State: 6,872 (77)
Weber State: 6,869 (78)
Utah Valley: 2,939
Southern Utah: 1,846
Big Sky attendance in 2016-17
Weber State: 6,869
Montana State: 2,502
North Dakota: 1,850
Idaho State: 1,836
E. Washington: 1,747
Southern Utah: 1,695
N. Colorado: 1,247
N. Arizona: 1,235
Sacramento St.: 859
Portland St.: 662
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