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Attendance Increase at NKU Men's Basketball Games Ranks 12th in NCAA

The NCAA recently released its statistical analysis of attendance at men’s basketball games, and Northern Kentucky University’s attendance growth ranks among the nation’s best. NKU’s attendance grew by 1,311 year-over-year, an improvement that ranked as the 12th-highest in the country.

Overall, Northern Kentucky’s program-record 4,135 attendance figure last season ranked 119th, putting the Norse in the upper-third of the 351-member NCAA Division I rankings.

NKU was one of 18 programs to see a positive change in attendance of more than 1,000 fans. Nationally, only three non-Power 5 conference programs saw better year-over-year growth: Arkansas-Pine Bluff (2,129), Western Kentucky (1,572), and Boise State (1,351).

Dating back to the 2014-15 campaign, when an average of 2,016 fans passed through the turnstiles at BB&T Arena, NKU ranks among the nation’s power brokers in growth based on actual attendance numbers as well. Attendance has more than doubled, growing by 2,119 fans during that time. Only 11 programs, just two of which come from mid-major conferences (Nevada and Middle Tennessee), have shown more growth in average attendance. Northern Kentucky’s growth also ranks just ahead of West Virginia (2,114), Miami (2,006), Maryland (1,980), Virginia Tech (1,934) and Florida State (1,809).

Student attendance at Norse games has also shown similar growth over the last four years, elevating from 300 in 2014-15 to 621 last season.

“It truly is exciting to see how our attendance numbers have grown over the last four years,” said NKU Athletic Director Ken Bothof. “Building our fan base and boosting attendance at our men’s basketball games has been a strategic priority for us. In addition to our team’s success, our marketing, ticketing and promotions staff has done an excellent job of identifying ways to connect fans in this region to our program and then ensured those fans had an enjoyable experience at BB&T Arena.

“Thank you, Norse Nation, for making BB&T Arena such an exciting venue to watch college basketball. The energy inside our arena is palpable and provides a home-court advantage to our team. Northern Kentucky men’s basketball is quickly becoming an entertainment destination in the region because of the environment you help create.”

Over the last two years, Northern Kentucky has gone 46-21 overall. And, in front of the burgeoning home crowds at BB&T Arena the Norse are an impressive 24-4 in that same span.

Also, according to the NCAA report, the Horizon League ranks among the top half of the nation’s conferences in average attendance as well. An average of 2,546 fans attend Horizon League contests, which ranks 15th among the 32 DI conferences. Motor City Madness, the Horizon League’s conference tournament, averaged 6,058 fans, which was the 13th-most attended conference tournament last year.

-Staff report