With the regular season in the rearview mirror, the final attendance tallies have been tabulated, and attendance is up across the board for the University of Evansville Men’s Basketball program.
This season showcased many new ideas implemented at the Ford Center. Upper bowl seating was closed to move everyone into lower seats making more of an electric atmosphere. The Baseline Landing made its debut this year. The riser section behind the baseline on the west side of the arena was turned into a gathering area where credentialed fans could congregate and purchase food and beverages without having to miss a second of the game. The old student section seating was replaced with high end risers creating a student seating area on the floor of over 100 seats, which was overflowing for most games.
“We were thrilled with the response from the changes we instituted,” UE director of athletics Mark Spencer said. “All of the credit goes toward the wonderful fans who created a fantastic playing environment cheering for an outstanding basketball team.”
Several high end promotional activities produced successful results. In the MVC opener, the first-ever West Side Night was held, resulting in 7,801 fans coming in through the turnstiles while welcoming those from the west side, including Logan’s Promise. A record sellout crowd of 10,034 attended the January 31 game against Wichita State, while the Southern Illinois (Jim Byers Day) and UNI (Senior Day) games saw crowds over 6,500.
Jumps were seen in every aspect of home attendance with the most impressive tally being Missouri Valley Conference games. In MVC contests at the Ford Center this season, Evansville saw a 39 percent increase, which translates to 1,702 more people per game. This season saw the most people attend home MVC games since the 2008-09 season at Roberts Stadium.
Overall, attendance at the Ford Center for UE was up 22 percent, an average of 924 per game. The average number of people at a game in 2015-16 was the most since the Purple Aces began playing at the downtown arena in 2011.
Paid single game tickets saw a total jump of 45 percent per game more than last year. New season tickets saw an increase with new ticket holders signing up for the full season plan.
Arch Madness saw a record number of Aces fans make the trip west on Interstate 64. There was a 90% percent increase of all-session tournament tickets sold to the MVC Tournament over 2015.