It’s safe to say first-year Head Coach Brad Underwood has taken the basketball program head-and-shoulders above what it was last year with Travis Ford. But just how much has attendance risen over since Underwood took over the reigns?
Last season, Ford had an average attendance of 5,786. The non-conference average was 4,895 with the conference attendance better at 6,479.
Unless nobody shows up to the last two home games, Underwood will best the attendance numbers from last season. There are an average of 7,948 people coming through the doors of Gallagher-Iba Arena doors this season. These numbers are hurt by the poor non-conference attendance numbers, where an average of 5,807 showed up to watch the Cowboys. Coming off a poor year, having a new coach, and the God-awful home schedule all contributed to this showing.
The conference attendance is much better though. In seven games, the Cowboys are 27 people per game short of 9,000 people coming in the doors.
While these numbers are a vast improvement over last year’s numbers, they are in no way the best numbers in the 2010s.
This year’s numbers are comparable to the 2014-15 season. This year’s poor non-conference schedule led to about 800 less people per non-conference game, but success in the latter 2/3 of the Big 12 season has helped push the overall attendance to 50 more people coming per game, give or take. The conference attendance is slightly lower, but I expect the last two crowds to help push the season average attendance over 9,000.
But out of the seven seasons in the 2010s, Coach Underwood will only best the 2014-15 and 2015-16 season. The rest of the seasons hover in the 9,000-10,000 range in total attendance, non-conference attendance and conference attendance.
If you are a numbers freak, here are the numbers breaking down the past seven seasons.
So even though Brad Underwood has resurrected the program from how Ford left it, the attendance numbers just aren’t quite there yet. Give it time though. This is the first year of Underwood’s tenure. There have been three sellouts of GIA this year with two games to go. There was never more than four sellouts in one season in the past decade, but Underwood may just do it this year. If they sell out GIA against Texas Tech and Kansas both, Underwood will have more sellouts in one year than OSU has had in the past three years.
Underwood is surely bringing the crowd back and making good on his promise from his introductory conference.
...This is about filling this arena because of the tradition and the culture....We've got to have the students. The rowdiest arena in America, we have to get back to that. We have to make this miserable for opponents, and we'll do that.