Monday, it became official what most college basketball fans already assumed, Syracuse led the nation in attendance for the 2014-15 season. This, of course, is a great display of Orange Pride, but can, and should be representative of so much more.
The Orange led the nation, averaging 23,854 fans per game, a hair under 300 more per game than the University of Kentucky and more than double the ACC average of 11,368. This is an obvious benefit of playing basketball in a football stadium.
The uniqueness of the Carrier Dome and Syracuse basketball needs to be exploited more during the recruiting process. AD Mark Coyle brought this up during his introductory press conference in June.
Every Syracuse fan knows how truly special and unique the Carrier Dome is and that needs to be stressed to recruits. No other team can boast the best attendance in the nation for two straight years.
If UK played in a Carrier Dome-sized venue – Rupp Arena has a capacity of 23,500 – it is safe to assume they would lead the nation in attendance. However, it is much less certain they would ever pull in over 35,000 for a single game, like Syracuse has done two straight years.
There is just something about the Carrier Dome that can’t be replicated and the attendance record is a tangible way of recognizing that, and it is something sports fans nationwide notice.
Obviously the Dome isn’t the only venue in the nation that is completely unique. There is nothing like playing in Cameron Indoor for instance, but this isn’t about which is better. It is about that no place in the country is like the Dome.
Snagging the top spot this year is also just a testament to the loyalty and dedication of the Syracuse fan base. The team struggled, especially by Syracuse’s high standards, and despite a post-season ban, people kept showing up.
This is something else that should be pointed out every time a recruit comes to the Hill. If you come to Syracuse, you will get to play in front of the largest and one of the most passionate fan bases in the country.