The NCAA released statistics on home attendance for the 2007-08 basketball season. Basically the top 15 teams from last season were all the same except for the position in the ranks. Memphis entered the top 15 while Michigan St. fell out.
There are several things that make looking at the stats interesting. Of the top 15, the only ones to go down in average attendance were Kentucky, North Carolina, Syracuse, Ohio St. and the Jays. Wisconsin and Illinois were exactly the same. Some shady number counting for the Big 10 I think. Hard for me to believe that with the ineptitude of Bruce Weber to coach Illinois this season that they still had the same home attendance. Not likely.
Probably what hurt the Jays numbers a little bit was the attendance of the final home game of the season, which was the NIT game against Rhode Island. With the NCAA Tournament in town later in the week, the late start, and it being a week night, that really brought attendance down for that game, but the true fans showed up for that game. The place was rockin’ more than anytime before. Unfortunately, the 9500+ that showed up for that game may be the actual fan attendance for the rest of the games. The other 6000 show up because it is the place to be and socialize. However, even without the Rhode Island game, the average attendance would have been 15,768 which still would have put the Jays behind Marquette. Don’t get me wrong, being in the top 15 for attendance is quite a feat.
The fear for the future is this–with increases in ticket prices for next season and the failure to bring bigger name teams into the Qwest center just to have an additional home game, the fans can become complacent and the average attendance will continue to fall. Many will see some of the games that really are important, not that important because they have come accustomed to they Jays winning those games. I know the name of the competition shouldn’t be deciding factor in whether or not you attend a Creighton home game, but for some of the fickle fans of Omaha, the name of the competition makes a difference. Heck, for some people, they can’t even get to the game on time to fill the lower bowl. I don’t even want to mention those fans who leave at 8 minutes or 4 minutes left in the game. What is the point of going to the game if you don’t stay until the end? Do people really have somewhere they have to be to leave early? If you are concerned about getting out of the parking lot and getting home into your PJ’s and calling it a night, Omaha is nothing compared to bigger cities. To to Philly, LA or New York sometime. Then you can worry about traffic. In Omaha, we have the best thing in the world. We can see high quality events and still get there and leave with plenty of time to spare. I just hope the people of Omaha wake up and continue to support the Jays will full power instead of hopping on the bandwagon whenever they want.