Campus Corner

Missouri basketball has endured dramatic attendance decline

Missouri’s Jakeenan Gant (top) dunked over Florida’s Eli Carter (bottom) at Mizzou Arena in February.
Missouri’s Jakeenan Gant (top) dunked over Florida’s Eli Carter (bottom) at Mizzou Arena in February. The Associated Press

For the first time since Mizzou Arena opened, men’s basketball crowds during conference play averaged fewer than 10,000 fans.

Truth be told, Missouri wasn’t even close to drawing 10,000 fans per game during its SEC slate.

The Tigers’ average attendance for its nine home conference games was only 9,164.

That includes three of six smallest crowds in Mizzou Arena history for a conference game and six of the 13 smallest crowds since the arena opened in November 2004.

The Tigers beat Auburn 63-61 on senior night thanks to senior guard Keith Shamburger’s jumper with 10.9 seconds left in front 6,619 fans, the third-smallest crowd for a conference game in more than a decade.

Missouri only drew 6,549 for a 78-71 victory Feb. 14, 2007, against Baylor and only 6,557 for a 54-51 loss Feb. 21, 2006, against Texas A&M.

Oddly, the three lowest-attended games of the 2015 conference slate were all wins for the Tigers, who drew 7,509 for an overtime win against LSU in the conference opener and 7,631 for a 12-point win Feb. 24 against Florida.

Missouri drew more than 10,000 fans during a three-game stretch from Jan. 17-29 against Tennessee (10,359), Arkansas (11,022) and Kentucky (13,034), but only drew more than 9,000 fans in one other game during conference play.

A total of 82,475 fans attended the Tigers’ home conference games, marking the first time MU drew fewer than 100,000 fans for a nine-game conference schedule.

Playing an eight-game Big 12 schedule in 2008-09, Missouri drew 110,000 fans, the start of a five-year renaissance for attendance at Mizzou Arena.

Buoyed by four sellout crowds, the Tigers averaged 13,750 fans for conference games.

Missouri averaged three sellouts and at least 13,735 fans each of the next four seasons, peaking in 2011-12 with an average crowd of 14,839 and sold out games.

That was Frank Haith’s first season, a 30-5 campaign that included a Big 12 tournament championships and No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Attendance dropped nearly 7 percent in 2012-13 to 13,805 on average, but the Tigers still played in front of three sellout crowds.

Missouri has not sold out a game since the 2012-13 season finale against Arkansas and attendance plummeted nearly 20 percent during the 2013-14 season.

It dipped nearly another 18 percent during the 2014-15 season, the first under Kim Anderson.

Overall attendance at conference games is down 33.6 percent during the last two seasons, including the recently completed 9-23 campaign that set a record for most losses in a season in program history and school-record 13-game losing streak.

To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to tpalmer@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter at @todpalmer.

Highest Missouri average attendance in conference games since 2004-05

Season

Average

2011-12

14,839

2009-10

13,861

2012-13

13,805

2008-09

13,750

2010-11

13,735

2013-14

11,140

2004-05

11,129

2007-08

10,981

2006-07

10,940

2005-06

10,329

2014-15

9,164

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