Vols rank fifth in nation in basketball attendance

Martin, Pearl agree on importance of UT fan base

Tennessee guard Tyler Summitt (14) and fellow teammates don 'I back Pat' t-shirts as they enter the playing floor before the game against Connecticut at Thompson-Boling Arena Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012.  Tennessee won 60-57 over Connecticut.  (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, Adam Brimer

Tennessee guard Tyler Summitt (14) and fellow teammates don "I back Pat" t-shirts as they enter the playing floor before the game against Connecticut at Thompson-Boling Arena Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012. Tennessee won 60-57 over Connecticut. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Cuonzo Martin and Bruce Pearl don't have much in common in terms of their basketball coaching styles on the court, but both the former and current Tennessee coach are alike in their appreciation for the Vols' big home crowds.

"Absolutely, our crowd has really made a difference and gotten us over the hump,'' Martin said Monday. "It really helps push the guys, and I think it's a major reason we've been successful at home.''

The Vols are 10-3 in Thompson-Boling Arena this season with marquee wins over nationally ranked and recent NCAA tournament champions Florida and Connecticut.

Tennessee (11-12, 3-5 SEC), which has won eight of its last nine home games, is averaging 17,378 per home date, which through last weekend's games ranked fifth in the nation.

UT finished in the top five nationally in attendance each of Pearl's six seasons coaching the Vols after ranking 20th in the nation in attendance in 2005 under former coach Buzz Peterson (12,225).

"What separates the great basketball programs from the good ones is a home-court advantage, and our program has received tremendous passion and support from the fan base,'' Pearl said Monday. "It's great to see this year's team playing so hard and so solidly defensively, and I think our fans appreciate that.''

The Vols have four remaining home games starting with Wednesday against South Carolina, followed by Arkansas on Feb. 15, Ole Miss on Feb. 22 and Vanderbilt on March 3.

Kentucky leads the nation in home attendance with 23,541 per game through last weekend, followed by Syracuse (21,931), Louisville (21,291), North Carolina (19,794), UT (17,378), and Wisconsin is sixth (17,171).

Memphis ranks second in the state with 16,650 per home game.

Mike Griffith covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him at http://twitter.com/MikeGriffith32

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Comments » 73

hcjournals#206623 writes:

Thompson Boing was built to get close to or beat Kentucky's attendance....Fifth in the country is very good. Imagine when we continue to improve how great it will be to get 23 or 24k every home game....Then we can bow top to Caintuck like we're supposed to....

GreeneVol writes:

Pleasantly surprised. A sure feather in the cap when it comes to recruiting.

Ticket sales and concessions mean a lot, but I would be interested to know the top noise-making crowds in the country as well, somehow measuring decibels from courtside. I mean Cameron Indoor (except for last couple of games) is probably one of the loudest there is, and what does it hold - 7,000?

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say if that dont speak volumes about the support. Witch Doctor say we aint like some schools and can roll up the bleachers on a bad year. Witch Doctor say Bruce still gets some of the credit keeping it real.
Bones never lie.

Witch_Doctors writes:

*Witch Doctor want to know the legend of the "Black Curtains" that ended up in one of Phils yard barn( so legend has it) Witch Doctor told they were going to be used in a practical joke that Phil was gonna play(??) Witch Doctor say someone tell the story...that knows??
Bones never lie.

GreeneVol writes:

A Kentucky writer comments on ESPN's opinion on loudest college hoop arenas:

http://www.nationofblue.com/espn-anno...

Can UT basketball ever make a list like this?

born2ride writes:

It is great UT fans still support dismal teams in basketball and football.

ETNTigerFan writes:

Very respectable numbers. Congrats!

tennrich1 writes:

in response to born2ride:

It is great UT fans still support dismal teams in basketball and football.

I agree...that is GREAT....but I wouldnt call our basketball teams the last few years dismal..not many schools in the country can say they beat two top 15 ranked teams this year either.......But you're right...VERY few schools could actually do this...Makes me proud to be a Vol...

VolzsFan writes:

in response to hcjournals#206623:

Thompson Boing was built to get close to or beat Kentucky's attendance....Fifth in the country is very good. Imagine when we continue to improve how great it will be to get 23 or 24k every home game....Then we can bow top to Caintuck like we're supposed to....

Actually TBA was built to surpass Rupp in capacity which it did when built. Since the renovations it is now down to the 21K range (just over). 5th is awesome BTW. Also, try and keep up with "current events".

GerryOP writes:

Where are all of those naysaying negaVols that were predicting the return of the black curtains? The significant phrase in the entire story -- "...marquee wins over nationally ranked and recent NCAA tournament champions Florida and Connecticut." Who woulda thunk?

How 'bout them Vols....

GerryOP writes:

in response to born2ride:

It is great UT fans still support dismal teams in basketball and football.

Speaking of dismal, where you been b2r?

jdcdjc writes:

Worse year in Vols sports and we still rank high in attendence. Says lots for the fans.

wigmeister writes:

Orange rules!!!!

voloffaith writes:

in response to doesitmatter:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"By ,by Miss american pie, took my Chevy to the levy,but the levy was dry...." We're waiting for you to get dry mouth when it comes to your keyboard.....just when we thought a little daylight emerged you and born2bstirfried show up again with negative ninny land abounding....

With respect to the former bball coach ewe could just ignore the lil insert in the article and move on.....couldn't ya? Jethro Tull's 'Living in the past'

johnlg00 writes:

in response to GreeneVol:

Pleasantly surprised. A sure feather in the cap when it comes to recruiting.

Ticket sales and concessions mean a lot, but I would be interested to know the top noise-making crowds in the country as well, somehow measuring decibels from courtside. I mean Cameron Indoor (except for last couple of games) is probably one of the loudest there is, and what does it hold - 7,000?

Cameron Indoor at Duke holds 9300, and is generally thought to be one of the loudest in the country. However, following Duke's home loss in overtime to Miami last Sunday, Coach K blasted them for being too passive. In fact, Duke's students, the Cameron Crazies, haven't used their full allotment of seats for any game this year, though they undoubtedly will for UNC this Wednesday.

In fact, average attendance for every sport at every level has been falling steadily for the last several years. In the recently completed NFL season, even some playoff games were far less than tight sell-outs and there were more home-market TV black-outs this regular season than ever before.

In light of all this, it is remarkable how well UT home attendance has held up. I suggested last year that between home games, away games, post-season games, and TV appearances, more fans probably saw UT athletes, male and female, in action than those of any other program in the country. As far as I know, nobody even tried to refute that theory.

FLVOL_79 writes:

Wow! That is impressive! During my time in Knoxville you couldn't give tickets away. Its nice to see that even though the team isn't doing that great people still show up to support it. It is a great facility! GO BIG ORANGE!

Chappy writes:

I'm kinda surprised the Vols have better attendance than Memphis State (yeah, yeah I know University of Memphis, but it will always be Memphis State to me). Isn't Memphis a B-Ball town? How many seats does FedEx Forum have anyway?

Vol_Jokes writes:

Memphis to the Big East which has more than one elite team. Kensucky is it for the SEC. Vols to the NIT if they try really hard.

BleednUrnge81 writes:

in response to GreeneVol:

Pleasantly surprised. A sure feather in the cap when it comes to recruiting.

Ticket sales and concessions mean a lot, but I would be interested to know the top noise-making crowds in the country as well, somehow measuring decibels from courtside. I mean Cameron Indoor (except for last couple of games) is probably one of the loudest there is, and what does it hold - 7,000?

Cameron indoor's capacity is around 12k.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEAR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Witch Doctor say they count at turnstile at Forum. Witch Doctor assume many buy tickets but are carjacked, shot and bodies left far way from the FedEx. Witch Doctor say not that it counts toward their overall total attendance its just another reason to be a Vol fan in this state. (hehe)
Bones never lie.

Vol_Jokes writes:

in response to Chappy:

I'm kinda surprised the Vols have better attendance than Memphis State (yeah, yeah I know University of Memphis, but it will always be Memphis State to me). Isn't Memphis a B-Ball town? How many seats does FedEx Forum have anyway?

Why surprised? You've got a lot of rednecks over that way with nothing better to do. Watching basketball is an activity that doesn't require the skill of reading or writing. I'm sure it's quite popular. Besides what else is there to do over there, play your banjo. Tie down your trailer home? Make moonshine?

Dougb-VFL writes:

Just more proof that UT has the best and most loyal fans in the nation! VFL

johnlg00 writes:

in response to BleednUrnge81:

Cameron indoor's capacity is around 12k.

Not saying they might not have HAD 12k in there on occasion, but the local paper in Greensboro, NC has had several recent articles on declining attendance in the ACC. In one of them, they listed the official capacity of each conference arena and any changes, mostly down, in percentage of capacity occupied in recent years. They stated that Cameron's capacity is 9300.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Vol_Jokes:

Why surprised? You've got a lot of rednecks over that way with nothing better to do. Watching basketball is an activity that doesn't require the skill of reading or writing. I'm sure it's quite popular. Besides what else is there to do over there, play your banjo. Tie down your trailer home? Make moonshine?

Anybody who doesn't appreciate banjo music and moonshine has no opinions that interest me on any subject. Besides, it takes WAY more talent and practice to play banjo than it does to plug in an iPod, which is probably the beginning and end of your musical expertise.

LJS1984 writes:

Was Bruce Pearl quoted in this story or should that say Martin??????????????? Interesting that the Sentinel went to Pearl to ask him about this years attendance.

VolfanClinton writes:

in response to jdcdjc:

Worse year in Vols sports and we still rank high in attendence. Says lots for the fans.

The mens team was predicted to finish 11th but are currently in 8th place so their playing above expectations !! So blame the football team and Dooley more !!

Vol43 writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

*Witch Doctor want to know the legend of the "Black Curtains" that ended up in one of Phils yard barn( so legend has it) Witch Doctor told they were going to be used in a practical joke that Phil was gonna play(??) Witch Doctor say someone tell the story...that knows??
Bones never lie.

Hey doctor. I'll have what you're having. One day I'd love to have a cold one with you. Me and a whole bunch of vols.

Fall_Creek_Vols writes:

in response to doesitmatter:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I figured someone would have to put a floater in the punch bowl. Your comments are hurtful, unnecessary and in poor taste.

Just thought I'd be the one to try to turn on the burned-out bulb over your head. Helpful hint of the day: you don't make yourself look better or smarter when you try to make someone else look bad.

P.S.: With regard to your screen name: from you...no, it doesn't

8ball writes:

in response to doesitmatter:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Glad to know you have never lied. Sad

sly_stone99#434111 writes:

It may ranked 5th in attendance but that crowd is strictly the wine and caviar crew. I have heard NBA arenas louder than TBA.

RememberWhen writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Where are all of those naysaying negaVols that were predicting the return of the black curtains? The significant phrase in the entire story -- "...marquee wins over nationally ranked and recent NCAA tournament champions Florida and Connecticut." Who woulda thunk?

How 'bout them Vols....

you continue to prove you're a born idiot!! the attendance numbers are based on tickets sold not actual bodies in seats so don't get too excited...you can still walk up and buy a $5 ticket to ANY game. And really?? you wanna talk about a win over an AVERAGE at best UConn team???? Let's talk about Charleston....or some of the other MARQUEE nobodies that this team lost to....the spiral has begun and unlike football it's gonna be a slow and painful demise....who woulda thunk??

RememberWhen writes:

in response to VolfanClinton:

The mens team was predicted to finish 11th but are currently in 8th place so their playing above expectations !! So blame the football team and Dooley more !!

WOW!!! Now THAT is something to be proud of!!! All the way up to 8th??? Headed for NO POSTSEASON after 6 straight years in the dance??? A whole bunch of losses to bad teams???? YUP!! they're WAY above expectations!!!

sly_stone99#434111 writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEAR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Seriously? What has Fed Ex Forum have to do with TBA being a dead place at times? Chitlins and malt liquor have serious racial overtones to it. However, the wine and caviar is more on social status,lol.

RememberWhen writes:

in response to Vol_Jokes:

Memphis to the Big East which has more than one elite team. Kensucky is it for the SEC. Vols to the NIT if they try really hard.

Congrats on goin to the Big East!! Of course with all the changes they've become CUSA-East so don't act like you're going somewhere special!! Memphis adds nothing to that league - or any league for that matter.

GerryOP writes:

in response to RememberWhen:

you continue to prove you're a born idiot!! the attendance numbers are based on tickets sold not actual bodies in seats so don't get too excited...you can still walk up and buy a $5 ticket to ANY game. And really?? you wanna talk about a win over an AVERAGE at best UConn team???? Let's talk about Charleston....or some of the other MARQUEE nobodies that this team lost to....the spiral has begun and unlike football it's gonna be a slow and painful demise....who woulda thunk??

Have you considered anger management counseling sessions? That level of anger can make you seriously ill .. or is it iller.

GerryOP writes:

in response to RememberWhen:

Congrats on goin to the Big East!! Of course with all the changes they've become CUSA-East so don't act like you're going somewhere special!! Memphis adds nothing to that league - or any league for that matter.

Seriously, get some help. Your local social services organization can direct you to an appropriate counseling service. Anger ... a direct path to self destruction.

sly_stone99#434111 writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEAR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yes no denying having been on the appeal,not anymore since it went $$$ pay per. Have you devy up the duckets to continue? I would think they had a lot of ppl drop off. Free is still my favorite thing.

1vavolfan writes:

in response to Chappy:

I'm kinda surprised the Vols have better attendance than Memphis State (yeah, yeah I know University of Memphis, but it will always be Memphis State to me). Isn't Memphis a B-Ball town? How many seats does FedEx Forum have anyway?

The C-USA is the reason, they're marquee home games are Southern Miss and UAB.UT is the best team coming into they're arena for the season. Of course, they will have an NIT game to host if they are lucky.

Razor784 writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say if that dont speak volumes about the support. Witch Doctor say we aint like some schools and can roll up the bleachers on a bad year. Witch Doctor say Bruce still gets some of the credit keeping it real.
Bones never lie.

Yeah I agree, I kind of think of TBA as the house that Bruce built, because it really came alive under him, but i've been to most of the games this year and the house has been rockin' for the most part

Vols4life77 writes:

in response to RememberWhen:

WOW!!! Now THAT is something to be proud of!!! All the way up to 8th??? Headed for NO POSTSEASON after 6 straight years in the dance??? A whole bunch of losses to bad teams???? YUP!! they're WAY above expectations!!!

WOW!! Another depressing idiot who always takes anything posted and turns it into a negative. I feel sorry for your friends if you have any because it has to get tiresome to hear constant bit**ing.. I'm sure your boyfriend even ignores you. I wish you would delete your account so I could post " Remember When" that idiot used to post all that dumb Sh#t on here. Do you remember when the last time you smiled was and I'm not talking about those playgirl mags under your bed. People like you, merlot and grantland spend more energy hating the vols than just picking someone else you could enjoy.

Voluvr writes:

in response to GreeneVol:

A Kentucky writer comments on ESPN's opinion on loudest college hoop arenas:

http://www.nationofblue.com/espn-anno...

Can UT basketball ever make a list like this?

No. Because the students aren't given priority seating on the sidelines down to the floor. They're behind the goal. Too many corporate and old deadwood donors in the "would be" loud seats. Students should have priority.

TennesseeTim writes:

I think Coach Marin is a good man and I hope he'll be successful as UT’s head coach. However, if Coach Martin stumbles, I hope we hire Coach Pearl again. Even though he made a major mistake by not telling the truth, I love what he brought to the UT basketball program. He’s the man in my book.

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to jdcdjc:

Worse year in Vols sports and we still rank high in attendence. Says lots for the fans.

very few of which are on this site

GerryOP writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Cameron Indoor at Duke holds 9300, and is generally thought to be one of the loudest in the country. However, following Duke's home loss in overtime to Miami last Sunday, Coach K blasted them for being too passive. In fact, Duke's students, the Cameron Crazies, haven't used their full allotment of seats for any game this year, though they undoubtedly will for UNC this Wednesday.

In fact, average attendance for every sport at every level has been falling steadily for the last several years. In the recently completed NFL season, even some playoff games were far less than tight sell-outs and there were more home-market TV black-outs this regular season than ever before.

In light of all this, it is remarkable how well UT home attendance has held up. I suggested last year that between home games, away games, post-season games, and TV appearances, more fans probably saw UT athletes, male and female, in action than those of any other program in the country. As far as I know, nobody even tried to refute that theory.

As usual, johnlg telling it the way it is. Fabulous post my Vol friend. Simply fabulous...

Orange_Pants_Buy_One_Get_One_Free writes:

This shows how sad and pathetic all things in Tennessee are. Nothing to do outside of Memphis or Nashville so let's all go to that dungeon in Knoxveal and watch Quizno and the boys play on a court names after the girl's coach. Hilarious! Hope for an NIT bid. Hope.

FanNotSheep writes:

I think the quote from Pearl is a valid inclusion in this article, unlike Griff's asking Tony Jones his opinion of Coach Martin's lineup changes.

The reason attendance numbers are where they are has a lot to do with the exciting brand of winning basketball and fearless scheduling by the previous coaching staff. Haters can say what they want to, but Pearl inviting and beating teams like Kansas is a huge reason the season ticket numbers are where they are. Many people have decided to give the new coach a chance and are enjoying the team's effort this season. I hope even more of the fans who were so upset over the coach being fired that they are staying away will come back soon. The program needs a strong home court advantage to be successful.

For those too young to remember, the arena actually helped get the man most responsible for its existence fired. DeVoe begged the UT brass for a modern arena to compete with UK, but failed to recruit marquee players needed to fill seats. That, along with a declining won-loss record his last few seasons, spelled the end of his UT career.

underthehill writes:

in response to FanNotSheep:

I think the quote from Pearl is a valid inclusion in this article, unlike Griff's asking Tony Jones his opinion of Coach Martin's lineup changes.

The reason attendance numbers are where they are has a lot to do with the exciting brand of winning basketball and fearless scheduling by the previous coaching staff. Haters can say what they want to, but Pearl inviting and beating teams like Kansas is a huge reason the season ticket numbers are where they are. Many people have decided to give the new coach a chance and are enjoying the team's effort this season. I hope even more of the fans who were so upset over the coach being fired that they are staying away will come back soon. The program needs a strong home court advantage to be successful.

For those too young to remember, the arena actually helped get the man most responsible for its existence fired. DeVoe begged the UT brass for a modern arena to compete with UK, but failed to recruit marquee players needed to fill seats. That, along with a declining won-loss record his last few seasons, spelled the end of his UT career.

Ray Mears made basketball big for UT. Stokely held 12,500..Bernie and Ernie made it too small..Pearl did as you say and TN fans reponded by filling it up.. If you look at attendance in football and basketball rankings combined..who would rank ahead of TN?

punkin writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEAR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'm the most hated one on the CA site.

hcjournals#206623 writes:

Let me make this clear...Renovations or not..... When it comes to true fan loyalty, we will bring out more than anyone. Add football and basketball together. What does Kentucky have then? Sour grapes? Read the the scoreboard. We average 180,000 more fans per year in football and basketball than they do....Not fair or relevant? Maybe. But I like saying it....We don't flex our muscles enough. 26 years Kentucky. And we will get there in basketball. We aren't even getting started and we are 5th in the country. Trust me, we'll find a way to put a couple thousand more in the building if we have to redo things...So tap on the brakes and show a little respect. Every time we play you in football we have to bite our tongues and listen to you say "wait until basketball season." And now that you won one in 27 years you get to act cocky? Doesn't work that way little brother.....

jopad writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Anybody who doesn't appreciate banjo music and moonshine has no opinions that interest me on any subject. Besides, it takes WAY more talent and practice to play banjo than it does to plug in an iPod, which is probably the beginning and end of your musical expertise.

LOL bigtime. Now that's really funny johnlg!

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