I’m back on my matrix grind, just like Neo. This time, I’ve found a chart by Corey Schmidt (@HalcyonHoops) from Basketball Prospectus. Schmidt was calculating fan willingness to attend football and basketball games by averaging how arenas and stadiums were filled in the last six seasons for each school. Schmidt said this of his matrix:
What if everyday fans had a say in realignment scenarios? And what if we measured their collective say by their willingness to attend football and basketball games? Which side would win?
Naturally football attendance figures will far outweigh those for basketball because of the sheer differences in venue capacity. If we control for size by looking at the percent of venue capacity filled for a given program in a given time period, we can better compare across the sports and dive into this inquiry.
To complete this task I obtained the last six years’ worth of season attendance figures for every school with a football and basketball program competing in the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10, and SEC. For each season a capacity percentage was calculated for each school’s football and basketball teams. I then averaged all of the seasons together to arrive at a six-year “capacity used” average for both sports.
These results rely heavily on two assumptions: 1) Programs design arenas and stadia according to realistic assessments of popular demand. 2) Attendance figures reported to the NCAA are taken in good faith.
Schmidt put this together to help better answer questions regarding conference realignment, but I’ve posted it so we can all take a minute to revel in how awesome the University of Kentucky is. John Gasaway (@JohnGasaway) tweeted regarding the chart, “Check Kentucky in the scatterplot. If the non-UK SEC supported hoops the way UK does football, egad”. As fans, we may sometimes get frustrated with the football team, but the numbers show that we still support our team. Thanks to UK’s football and basketball following, We have the best combined attendance for both major sports in the Southeastern Conference.
Interesting to note is Louisville’s expected lack of football support, Alabama’s location on the chart, my school’s ‘No Sports Dominance’ title and Oklahoma State’s spot as a basketball school. Go figure.