Razorbacks basketball attendance ranked 29th in the nation

FAYETTEVILLE (NWAOnline.com) - Arkansas ranked 29th nationally in college basketball attendance during the 2010-11 season, according to figures released Tuesday by the NCAA.

The school averaged 11,884 fans per game last season, which ranked fourth among Southeastern Conference schools. Kentucky led the nation, averaging more than 23,000 fans per game.

The national ranking is the lowest for the Razorbacks since moving into Bud Walton Arena during the 1993-94 season, and marks the first time during that span Arkansas didn't rank in the top 25.

Prior to the 2009-10 season, Bud Walton Arena ranked no lower than 14th in national attendance.

The dwindling crowds often left more than half of the 19,200-seat arena unoccupied. Five of the six-least attended games in the venue's history came last season, based on "estimated actual attendance" figures. A record-low 5,121 people showed up for the Razorbacks' game against Florida A&M in February.

The sharp decline in attendance was one of many factors Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long gave following his decision to fire John Pelphrey as the Razorbacks head coach March 13. The school is believed to have lost more than $3.47 million in unsold ticket revenue last season, based on the NCAA figure. That number doesn't take into account lost revenue in potential merchandise and concession sales, or unsold luxury suites.

Mike Anderson was hired as the school's basketball coach on March 23 after spending five years at Missouri. The Tigers ranked 34th nationally in attendance last season, drawing an average 11,112 fans per game.