Posted on April 29, 2022
Recently, a Twitter war erupted between the Oregon and USC faithful over the number of spectators at their respective Spring Games.
But in basketball, a larger home crowd is arguably magnified, generally correlating to higher win totals and a recruiting advantage.
High four and five-star prospects repeatedly point to the atmosphere of an arena as one of their primary reasons for committing.
And when competing for the top talent in the country, a raucous home crowd can be the deciding-factor that lands a projected lottery pick.
The list below sets forth the Pac-12’s official average men’s basketball home attendance statistics at each school for the 2021-22 season.
Some of the numbers are surprising, but the Conference provides the number of tickets sold, not the number of tickets scanned.
The accounting method arguably skews the true picture, but it also reflects the number of committed season ticket holders each program has.
So without further ado, we present the Conference’s official ’21-22 home attendance numbers.
2021-22 Average Attendance: 13,414
The demand for tickets is astronomical in the Old Pueblo, with baseline lower bowl season tickets going for $77,000.00 a pop heading into next year.
Yes, you read that right, 77-thousand for a baseline seat, nine rows up. And that’s for the baseline. If you want mid-court tickets, those are completely sold out in the lower bowl and rarely come available.
2. Arizona State
Desert Financial Arena
2021-22 Average Attendance: 7,973
Desert Financial Arena is one of the larger stadiums in the league, and the Phoenix metro is one of the most populous in the country.
But finishing second in attendance is a respectable accomplishment. There’s been a palpable buzz around the program during his tenure that has driven up season ticket sales.
Now, it’s Hurley’s job to capitalize on the momentum before it dissipates into the desert sun.
Jon M. Huntsman Center
2021-22 Average Attendance: 7,669
The published numbers are in stark contrast to reality, where the Utes often appeared to play in a mostly empty arena. The staff at the Huntsman Center were even forced to curtain off the top level due to the lack of fans.
Still, the high number is reflective of the sleeping giant that Utah Basketball’s home-court advantage could be.
2021-22 Average Attendance: 7,410
There’s no reason that a team that began the year ranked No. 2 in the country should struggle with fan turnout.
And sitting within the greater Los Angeles area with over 12 million people, the attendance levels might fairly be described as paltry.
Pauley Pavilion holds 13,800 fans and the Bruins are getting out-done by the likes of ASU and Utah.
Matthew Knight Arena
2021-22 Average Attendance: 6,970
Matthew Knight Arena has become known as one of the most difficult places to play on the West Coast, but it’s notoriety is substantially weakened with low fan turnout.
California and Arizona State both secured shocking upset victories in Eugene this past season, putting a dent in the arena’s image.
CU Events Center
2021-22 Average Attendance: 6,955
The number was down from the 2019-20 season (the last comparable year due to the COVID restrictions in ’20-21), despite CU coming off a Round of 32 appearance with the Pac-12’s top-ranked recruiting class.
The 16-point victory over No. 2 Arizona was historic, but the team played 17 other home games and could have used that energy in each one.
Alaska Airlines Arena
2021-22 Average Attendance: 6,554
Sitting within easy walking distance of a light rail station and just outside of downtown Seattle, Hec Ed is a different animal when it’s packed.
The student section is placed right on top of the two benches, and at full force, it’s arguably the most imposing in the Conference.
Mix in the deep basketball tradition within the Emerald City, and it appears that Washington’s number should consistently be among the top of the Pac-12.
But coming off a five-win season, the middling attendance is probably better than expected.
2021-22 Average Attendance: 4,746
Yet, the Bears’ basketball fans seem to be almost non-existent. For the sixth measurable season in a row, Cal’s average attendance is lower than the year prior.
The local Berkeley media appear to be banging the drum for Mark Fox’s firing, and numbers like these don’t help.
Still, the program seems to face a chicken or the egg conundrum. How do you compete for top talent when nobody goes to the games?
2021-22 Average Attendance: 3,860
The images from the home games against Arizona and UCLA are indications of what USC Basketball could be, but Andy Enfield’s team played 14 other home games last season where the SC fans were nowhere to be found.
Fortunately, the lack of consistent fan support hasn’t affected Enfield’s ability to recruit. Still, can you imagine USC’s recruiting if the Galen Center was packed every game?
10. Oregon State
2021-22 Average Attendance; 3,666
The unwillingness to show up for games was disappointing after the Elite Eight run, but not particularly surprising given the 3-28 record.
Still, when reasonably well-attended, Gill Coliseum is a tough environment to play in, and the Beavs probably would have won a few more games if their fans had shown up.
11. Washington State
2021-22 Average Attendance: 3,133
Beasley Coliseum holds over 12,000 people and a mostly empty arena is a bad look. Kyle Smith has proven he can recruit to Pullman, but a hostile environment is needed to take the next step.
Until Washington State can attract respectable crowds, the program might be bumping up to its ceiling.
2021-22 Average Attendance: 2,360
But the Tree have yet to make the NCAA Tournament during Haase’s tenure, and the complete lack of fan support is arguably a contributing factor.
With highly touted freshmen seemingly coming through each year, the potential of Stanford Basketball is limited by its attendance issues.
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