Men’s basketball: Attendance figures continue to grow

Attendance for Butler men’s basketball games this season is at in highest point in more than four decades.

Hinkle Fieldhouse has been sold out for games against Gonzaga and Temple.

“Especially ever since we beat Indiana, after that game we sold out the Gonzaga game within a few days,” Matt Harris, fan development manager, said.

The excitement created by the nationally-televised win over Gonzaga has seen fans gobbling up tickets for other Butler home games.

Tickets for this Saturday’s game against Rhode Island sold out last Thursday.

Only a few single tickets remained available for the game versus Saint Louis on Feb. 22 as of last Friday.

The senior night game against Xavier on March 9 sold out in early January.

Harris said with the other three home games falling on weekdays, it is unlikely they will sell out.

Season ticket sales also increased for the eighth straight year, Harris said.

Last season 115,231 fans attended Butler men’s basketball games at Hinkle Fieldhouse, an average of 7,202 per game.

The Bulldogs had not seen average attendance that high since they averaged more than 8,000 fans per game in 1964.

And attendance this year is expected to be even greater than last season’s totals.

Through 10 home games this season, 75,593 fan have attended the men’s games. That is an average of 7,559 per game. Last season through 10 home games the average attendance was 6,905 fans per game.

This season, the Gonzaga game saw the whole allotment of student seats filled, a rare occurrence even with the success of Butler in recent seasons.

“We have a set number of seats that we hold aside for students regardless of whether or not the rest of the tickets are sold out,” Lindsay Martin, sports marketing manager, said.

“Twice since I’ve been here have we ever reached that number in student attendance,” she said. “That was up to last weekend’s Gonzaga game and Ohio State in (2009).”

The number of student seats reserved for a game can vary from 1,200 to 1,500, depending on the demand.

The process for getting a seat for the Gonzaga game differed in that students were required to get a wristband in advance of the game if they wanted to be in attendance.

This was done because of the high demand for tickets for the sold-out game.

Martin said there is not much concern for possibly needing to turn students away at sold-out games if there are no student seats left.

“We’re not really concerned about that because we’ve only reached that magical student number twice in the last six years, and over those six years, we’ve been pretty good,” Martin said. “When you look at it, over a quarter of the student body would have to come to a game for us to be concerned about that.

“If that does become a concern, that’s a great problem to have.”

Student attendance going into the Gonzaga game was actually down slightly from last season, but much of that has to do with the number of home games that were played when students were on break, Martin said.

“We’re not concerned about student attendance,” Martin said. “Obviously as we continue playing and if we keep playing well, we expect that our numbers will outshine last year.”

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