LEXINGTON, Ky. – Once again, Kentucky basketball is posting impressive numbers in national attendance.
For men's basketball, UK led all schools in the NCAA with an average of 23,361 fans per home game. It’s the 18th time in the last 21 seasons Kentucky has led the country in average home attendance. Since Rupp Arena opened for the 1976-77 season, UK has ranked either first or second in average home attendance every season.
For women's basketball, Kentucky, for the 13th straight season, has ranked in the Top 25 nationally in average attendance, sitting No. 8 overall with 6,454 fans per home game during the 2015-16 season.
The 6,454 average attendance is second-best mark in UK women's program history behind 6,727 during the 2013-14 season. Overall in 18 homes games – including two inside Rupp Arena – Kentucky amassed a total attendance of 116,164, which also ranked eighth nationally. The 2015-16 season marked the fifth straight year the Wildcats have had a total attendance over 100,000.
The high attendance numbers are in large part due to two of the highest attended home games in program history in December. Kentucky packed 17,150 fans in Rupp Arena on Dec. 20 against Duke, which was the fourth-largest home crowd in program history. On Dec. 10, the Wildcats had 14,425 fans at the historic arena, which was the sixth-largest home crowd in school history.
Kentucky women’s attendance numbers have reached impressive heights the last six years as the Wildcats have averaged 6,000 or more fans each season, while the six most-attended home games in program history have all come the past six years under head coach Matthew Mitchell.
The Wildcats drew big crowds all across the country, not just in Lexington, as a total of 190,518 fans saw Kentucky play during the 2015-16 season, which ranked seventh best nationally in total home, road and neutral attendance.
The Southeastern Conference paced the nation in total attendance with 1,108,511 fans and average attendance with 4,758 fans per game. Both marks were conference records. The next closest conference in total attendance was the Big 12 with 732,897 fans.
In men's hoops, the Wildcats have averaged more than 23,000 fans at Rupp Arena in six of Calipari’s seven seasons at Kentucky.
Playing 17 home games this season, 397,148 fans attended games at Rupp Arena during the 2015-16 year. UK was one of only seven schools with at least 300,000 fans at its home games this season.
A total of 694,871 fans watched the Wildcats play at home, on the road and in neutral sites in 2015-16, which ranked second in the country. Kentucky set the NCAA record in 2013-14 with 922,653 total fans.
Finishing No. 2 behind UK in average attendance is Syracuse with 21,592 fans. Louisville placed third with 20,859 average. Click here for NCAA men's attendance chart for 2015-16.
The SEC had the second-highest attendance among the 32 NCAA Division I conferences. A total of 32,382,283 fans watched student-athletes in Divisions I, II and III in college basketball this past season, the 10th-highest attendance in NCAA history.
Photo by Jamie H. Vaught