Low at­ten­dance emerges as is­sue at re­gional sites

Un­der neu­tral-court for­mat, crowd num­bers are small­est in 20 years.

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - By Doug Fein­berg Women

There were a lot of empty seats at the NCAA Women’s Bas­ket­ball Tour­na­ment re­gion­als.

The NCAA saw its low­est at­ten­dance for the re­gion­als in 20 years, and there is no change to the for­mat in sight.

An av­er­age of 4,719 fans showed up for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games in the four neu­tral-site venues. That’s down 27 per­cent from last year and nearly 50 per­cent from 2014, when the games were on cam­pus sites. In 1997, an av­er­age of 4,252 fans came to the re­gion­als.

This year’s num­bers were bol­stered by the Bridge­port Re­gional, which sold out both days UConn played there. No other site had a lo­cal team play­ing.

“We con­tinue to work as hard as pos­si­ble to sup­port strong at­ten­dance at re­gional sites,” said Anucha Browne, NCAA vice president for women’s bas­ket­ball. “The chal­lenge is tak­ing some great teams that have real strong at­ten­dance on cam­puses and

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