Villanova put 143,092 butts in the seats in their sixteen home games in 2014 for an average of 8,943 fans per game, allowing the Wildcats to claim the honor of averaging more fans than the Pavilion can reasonably hold. The Wells Fargo Center, of course, holds up to 20,328 patrons (and can hold more with standing room), and the games there can boost the 'Cats attendance averages significantly.
For the 2014 season, those numbers place Villanova at 48th among the 345 schools in Division I and represent a modest increase of 922 more fans-per-game than in the 2012-13 season.
Former Big East rivals Syracuse took the top spot for attendance, averaging over 26 thousand fans in their inaugural ACC season, increasing their average by 3,813 fans-per-game.
The Big East did rather well in attendance after the brand and league rebooted, with a total attendance of 1,660,570 and an average of 9,711, the conference ranked 5th among the Division I leagues. The conference was led by its newest member Creighton, who packed an average of 17,104 fans into the stands this season. Marquette and Xavier were also in the top-50 for attendance, checking in at 14th and 42nd, respectively, while Georgetown was just a little-bit-outside, at number-51 on the list. All of the league's member's were in the top-100 schools listed by the NCAA.
Seton Hall had the lowest attendance in the Big East, averaging 6,336 fans -- just 27 fewer per-game than DePaul, who finished a spot ahead of them.
Finishing ahead of the Big East were the Big Ten, ACC, Big 12 and SEC, in that order, all of whom averaged over 10,000 fans per game. The midwestern-based Big Ten Conference averaged a stunning 13,534 fans per game, almost 3,000 more than the number-two ACC. The American -- led by Louisville -- was sixth in attendance during the season.
Villanova's attendance increase over the previous season was the 17th-best in Division I, and it was the only Big East school to make the top-25 in that category.
Overall, the Big East did rather well for attendance in its first season of play. While only Villanova and Creighton were along the top-30 in attendance gains, the league overall drew a very strong number of fans relative to the major football conferences; all of it despite lacking the exposure of an ESPN television contract. The figures also don't factor in neutral-site contests, which are becoming more popular for games between big-name programs.
For Villanova, the attendance figure also shows that the interest is there for fans, despite the league changes. With only five or fewer games played off-campus at the Wells Fargo Center, the Wildcats still manage to draw an average significantly in excess of the Pavilion's current capacity.
That figure would also suggest that the Wildcats could benefit from a larger facility on-campus, especially with attendance growing in-spite of the Big East's massive changes. In fact, a new building could help to increase attendance at games, as it appears to have done for "Nebrasketball" -- who topped the list for average attendance increase this year.
2013-14 NCAA Basketball Attendance Figures
|25||North Carolina State||19||240,182||12,641|
|27||San Diego State||16||198,624||12,414|
|66||St. John's (NY)||19||133,689||7,036|
|89||New Mexico State||15||89,224||5,948|