Tigers at a loss for hoops fans
Anecdotally, the sagging attendance at Memphis men’s basketball games was obvious to anyone who came to FedExForum and saw empty seats throughout the arena. On Tuesday, the NCAA’s release of its annual attendance figures for men’s basketball highlighted just how staggering the decrease has become in recent years.
Memphis reached a 35-year low by averaging just 9,622 fans during the 2016-17 season, the program’s lowest mark since 1981-82 when it still played in the Mid-South Coliseum. It’s also 2,406 fewer fans per game, and a 20 percent drop, from what the Tigers averaged during former Coach Josh Pastner’s final season.
Just three years ago, during the 201314 campaign, Memphis averaged 16,121 fans per game and ranked 10th in the country in average attendance. This year, the school fell to 46th nationally in attendance.
In a telephone interview Wednesday afternoon, Memphis associate athletic director Mark Alnutt noted the school altered its protocol for announced attendance from previous years and it affected the figures the university reported to the NCAA this year.
“We changed the formula to better reflect tickets sold and distributed and did more of an accurate account of the students that attended the game,” Alnutt said.
Memphis reached an all-time high in