With the men’s basketball season less than one week away, it comes as no surprise that one of the first things that greets visitors to the Seton Hall Athletics website is a “flash ticket sale” push for the Prudential Center opener on Nov. 17 against Saint Louis.
Seton Hall’s 17 home games last season drew 143,766 fans, an average of 8,456 per game that placed them 54th among all 351 Division I teams. The Pirates saw their highest attendance two seasons ago on Feb. 18, 2017, against Villanova, a game that drew 16,733 total people to the Prudential Center.
The Rock can hold a total of 10,481 in the lower bowl, and upper level seating does not open for fans unless there is high demand for games. SHUPirates.com reported that, for a third straight season, the 100s section of the Prudential Center will be available for Seton Hall-Villanova on March 9.
According to NCAA.com, the Big Ten amassed the most fans throughout the 2017-2018 season among Division I schools with a whopping 3,098,134 over 254 games, an average attendance of 12,197 per game. The Big East ranked fifth in in overall attendance at 1,846,120. Rounding out the rest of the top five are the Southeastern (SEC), Atlantic Coast (ACC), and Big 12, at second, third and fourth, respectively.
Villanova, Creighton, Marquette, Butler and Xavier cracked the top 30 ranking in home game attendance last season, but the Hall missed the cutoff in this ranking. This season, the Pirates will play 14 games at the Prudential Center, with Louisville, Rutgers and Nova slated to roll through the Rock, a prospect that promises an attendance boost. The second highest home game attendance of the 2017 season came on Dec. 23 against Rutgers in the Garden State Hardwood Classic with 10,481 spectators.
According to an August 2018 article by SHUPirates.com, the men’s basketball team’s attendance showed over a 500-fan increase from the previous season, which had a 7,954 average.
Historically, the Big East has drawn crowds on the road and at home. The conference holds the season record for most total attendance ever, with their 2006-2007 season total of 3,259,992 attendants over 16 teams. That season, the Big East had five teams in the AP Poll: Georgetown, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and Marquette.
Last season, Villanova, DePaul and Providence had some of the largest attendance increases from the previous season, with improvements of 2,056, 1,225, and 1,055, respectively.
With a national spotlight shining on the Big East, and Seton Hall on the radar as a climbing basketball school with a developing program, the Pirates might also see a spike in attendance this upcoming season like their fellow Big East competitors.
Andrea Keppler can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @keppler_andrea.