Men's Basketball against Ohio State. 8,003 people - a sell out. Last year the best attended game was 8,006 (how'd we add three more to a "sellout"?) against UConn. Not many games came even close to that; even Seton Hall (5,210) wasn't that big a draw last year.
So things are good and getting better. Last year, over a 20 game home schedule, 88,492 people watched men's basketball at the RAC. This year, through 13 games, 72,055 people have come through the doors. And there are three more home games to play.
It's the Big Ten. And we've pointed out that, without question, that has positively effected attendance. But despite the losses (6-7 at home), this team isn't a terrible team and it has had some good moments. It can be entertaining and fun - we'll ignore Sunday night and OSU. People will come out to watch. And they have.
The women (8-4 at home) have also benefitted attendance-wise from the B1G as well as some marquee non-conference games (UNC, Tennessee). The record is better, the team is ranked, and despite giving up some big leads at times, the women are scoring more and playing an exciting brand of hoops. Again, despite the 46 points they scored against Nebraska, this is the highest scoring Stringer team since 1998-99. And that team went to the Elite Eight. The women have three contests left this regular season at the RAC and will easily surpass total attendance and average attendance from 2013-14.
Then there are m'boys on the mat. Wrestling is rolling and pulling in fans. Over the Jan.31/Feb. 1 weekend, there were back-to-back matches against Navy and Ohio State, both at the College Avenue Gym (CAG). The OSU match was there because of a women's game at the RAC (the largest WBB crowd after the Tennessee game). Those two CAG matches drew over 2,800 to The Barn. The match against the Buckeyes, which drew 1,523, was declared a sellout prior to the weekend, but there were many open seats. Personally, I feel that if Athletics had not announced it as a sellout, there may have been even more people there, despite the fact that it was Super Bowl Sunday.
And one more.....gymnastics.
Once upon a time, the only sports at Rutgers where tickets were needed were football and basketball. Then came soccer and lacrosse. Then wrestling. Then gymnastics.
Gymnastics? Yup. And over the last several seasons, the team has had a number of sellouts at its home, the 1,000 seat Livingston Recreation Center. This year the Quad with Michigan State drew 959. The Quad with then-No. 6 Nebraska had an announced sellout. So, the market is there for good college athletics. If you build it....well, you know the rest.
What we should know
Attendance equals ticket sales, and that has obviously been better this year at Rutgers, in all sports. But by comparison, Rutgers has historically made very little on ticket sales. Among the Big Ten teams, Rutgers has had the smallest income from gate receipts. But that may be changing. The numbers I use are, as I mentioned, historical. The rise in attendance for B1G contests will make a difference. But Rutgers still has a lo-o-o-o-ong way to go.