April 1, 2002
DALLAS, Texas -
The Big 12 Conference "Million Fan March" has achieved its
goal of attracting one million fans to women's basketball games during the
2001-02 season, becoming the first NCAA conference to draw one million fans.
The league numbered 1,002,651 fans in its arenas this year through
182 games and six sessions of the 2002 Big 12 Women's Basketball Tournament
for an average of 5,333 per contest. Included in the final number are
outstanding attendance figures for the seven NCAA subregionals hosted by Big
12 schools. The 14 NCAA first and second round games attracted 114,787 fans
(8,199 average) to watch postseason Big 12 women's basketball. The Big 12
Tournament also set a conference attendance record this year with 32,953
fans at Kansas City's Municipal Auditorium.
"We've reviewed the numbers submitted by our member institutions and
are confident we have topped the million mark," said Joni James, the Big 12
media relations director for women's basketball. "The NCAA won't publish
final figures until this summer, but based upon our strong performance in
the postseason we've edged past our goal."
The "Million Fan March" campaign was established prior to the
2000-01 season with the goal of the Big 12 becoming the first conference in
the NCAA to draw 1,000,000 fans during the season. The Big 12 fell short of
the mark last season in its first major promotional attempt, but continued
the project this season as "Million Fan March 2".
"This is quite an accomplishment and a testament to our coaches,
student-athletes and, of course, our women's basketball fans," said Big 12
Commissioner Kevin Weiberg. "The Big 12 institutions have put a quality
product on the court and the fans have recognized it by coming out in record
numbers. They have earned the right to take great pride in topping the one
Individually, six schools averaged over 5,000 fans per game,
including Texas Tech which leads the Big 12 with an average of 12,545 per
game and is second nationally in an unofficial voluntary compilation
provided by the Wisconsin Sports Information Department. Iowa State also
averaged over 10,000-plus with 10,296 fans per game. Others averaging over
5,000 per game were: Kansas State (8,158), Oklahoma (6,607), Baylor
(5,524), and Texas (5,356). Kansas State made the most dramatic increase as
the Wildcats went from an average of 3,424 last season to 8,158 in 2001-02,
an increase of 138 percent.
"I don't think you can overlook the efforts of the on-campus
marketing and promotions departments," said Weiberg. "It has truly been a
joint on-campus effort to promote women's basketball. We also know the
visibility we have received with 30 telecasts of our games on Fox Sports Net
and ESPN2 has done wonders to promote Big 12 women's basketball."
This year's conference attendance has increased 14 percent over
last season as the Big 12 has enjoyed tremendous success on the court. Seven
teams were invited to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year,
tying the Big 12-high for NCAA berths set last year. In addition, a
conference-record five teams competed in the Sweet 16 and Oklahoma became
the first Big 12 school to advance to the Final Four.
2001-02 Big 12 Women's Basketball Attendance
Iowa State: 164,731
Kansas State: 122,376
Oklahoma State: 29,443
Texas A&M: 25,706
Texas Tech: 188,172
Big 12 Tournament: 32,953
Big 12 Total: 1,002,651