K-State Posts Largest Attendance Increase

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State's men's basketball team enjoyed the nation's largest average attendance increase with nearly 3,000 more fans per game in 2009-10, according to a release by the NCAA on Wednesday.

The Wildcats attracted 11,884 fans per game to 17 home games this past season, an increase of 2,943 fans per game from the 8,940 averaged in 20 games during the 2008-09 season.  The increase ranked ahead of second-place Arkansas-Pine Bluff, which increased its average attendance by just over 2,000 fans in 2009-10.  It is the second-largest average attendance increase in school history behind the 4,637 per game improvement in 2006-07.   

The average attendance figure ranked 31st nationally, marking the third time in the last four seasons that the school has ranked among the nation's Top 35.  The team ranked 25th nationally in attendance in 2007-08 with an average of 12,529 fans per game, while the 2006-07 squad placed 26th with 12,301 fans per game.  The 11,884 average ranks fifth in school history.  Three of the top-5 attendance averages have come in the last four years. 

Overall, K-State drew a total of 202,020 fans to its 17 home games in 2009-10, which marked the third time in the last four seasons that the school has drawn 200,000 or more fans.  The total attendance figure included a Nov. 28 game against IUPUI at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., which was included in the home attendance since the department controlled all the ticket and event operations.  The 202,020 home attendance total ranks third all-time in school history, just behind the 212,987 in 2007-08 and the 209,123 in 2006-07.   

In all, the school ranked 16th nationally in all games attendance with 450,159 fans coming to 37 contests.  The total ranked third in the Big 12 behind Kansas (562,726) and Texas (477,369).

Kentucky led the nation in attendance for the fifth consecutive season and the 14th time in the last 15 seasons with an average attendance of 24,111 in 18 games.  Syracuse (22,152), Louisville (19,397), Tennessee (19,168) and North Carolina (17,786) rounded out the Top 5.  Kansas led all Big 12 schools with an average of 16,433 fans, which ranked ninth nationally, while Texas (14,629) and Iowa State (12,491) ranked ahead of K-State in 14th and 26th places, respectively.  All 12 Big 12 schools ranked among in the nation's Top 100, including nine in the Top 50.

The Big 12 recorded the highest average attendance in league history with a tally of 11,214 fans per game, which ranked third nationally behind the Big Ten (12,591) and Southeastern (11,770).  In all, the league drew 2,366,232 fans to 211 contests in 2009-10, which was nearly 80,000 more than the previous season and just shy of the record 2,374,927 set during the 2007-08 season.  The Big 12 ranked fourth nationally in total attendance behind the Big East (3,138,877), Southeastern (2,518,749) and Big Ten (2,442,591).   

Kansas State is coming off one of its best seasons in school history in 2009-10, in which, the Wildcats tallied a school-record 29 wins and advanced to the Elite Eight for the 12th time in school history and the first time since 1988.  The squad will return three starters and 10 lettermen in 2010-11, including The Sporting News' third team All-American Jacob Pullen