July 2, 2003
PARK RIDGE, IL – Big Ten men’s basketball led the nation in total attendance for the 27th straight season, according to numbers released by the NCAA last week. The Conference welcomed 2,254,521 total fans through the turnstiles, just shy of the national record the League set during the 2000-01 campaign (2,342,022). The Big Ten also led the way with an average attendance of 12,525 per game, nearly 1,000 more than the national runner-up (ACC – 11,542). In conference tournament action, the League ranked third nationally with an average per session attendance of 18,058 at the 2003 Big Ten Tournament held at the United Center in Chicago, IL. The NCAA’s final attendance numbers and rankings include both regular-season and conference tournament attendance.
The Big Ten broke the two million mark in total attendance for the 11th straight season, as the League played host to 2,164,229 patrons in 175 regular-season games, the third-highest total in Conference annals. Only one other conference was able to draw two millions fans during the 2002-03 regular season, as the 12-member SEC attracted 2,033,944 patrons in 188 contests.
Individually, the Big Ten placed seven universities among the country’s top 25 in average attendance, highlighted by five programs among the top 15. No other conference placed more than four teams among the top 25. Wisconsin led the way for the Big Ten and ranked sixth nationally with an average of 16,930 fans per game, a new school record and the eighth-highest attendance figure in League annals. Two other schools ranked among the top 10 as Indiana rated No. 8 with 16,527 fans per game and Ohio State ranked No. 10 with 16,057 patrons per outing. Other Conference schools among the top 25 included No. 13 Illinois (15,165), No. 15 Michigan State (14,759), No. 20 Iowa (13,235) and No. 23 Minnesota (12,696).