ELMHURST, Ill. – The Summit League Basketball Championships continued to add to its reputation as one of the nation's best mid-major tournament environments by shattering several attendance records at the March 9-12 event in Sioux Falls, S.D.
With an overall mark of 44,868 fans for the combined men's and women's sessions, the 2013 Championships broke the previous record from last season by over 4,000 fans. The men's tournament drew 23,710 and topped the previous standard set in 1987. The women's tournament total of 21,158 fans shattered last season's record by over 3,300 fans.
Both the men's and women's championship games also set new standards. On the women's side, the attendance of 6,153 topped the previous record of 6,005 in 2005, which included both the men's and women's title games in one session. The men's championship crowd of 6,544 was the highest attended championship game in the five years that the tournament has been played in Sioux Falls.
Additionally, the first men's quarterfinal session total of 6,704 fans on Saturday night and the women's semifinal session total of 5,245 on Monday afternoon each established individual session records.
"The passion for our tournament is incredible and it continues to reach new heights," said Summit League Commissioner Tom Douple. "The crowds at the arena, the demand for tickets and the amount of interest are at all-time highs. Observers across the country are taking notice of what is happening at our premier event. That resonates across our league and provides a tremendous boost to our brand of basketball."
More than 2,500 all-session tickets for the 2014 Summit League Basketball Championships have sold in the first five days since going on sale March 8. The 2015 Basketball Championships will move into the new 12,000-seat Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls.
New Attendance Records set during the 2013 Summit League Championships
- Total (men's and women's): 44,868 (previously 40,269 in 2012)
- Men's Tournament: 23,710 (previously 23,073 in 1987)
- Women's Tournament: 21,158 (previously 17,867 in 2012)
- Women's Championship: 6,153 (previously 5,580 in 2009)
ABOUT THE SUMMIT LEAGUE
Entering its fourth decade of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of over 144,000 at nine universities, four of which are located in top 58 U.S. metro populations (Detroit, Indianapolis, Kansas City and Omaha). Member institutions include: Fort Wayne (Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne), IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis), Kansas City (University of Missouri-Kansas City), North Dakota State University, Oakland University, Omaha (University of Nebraska Omaha), the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Western Illinois University. The University of Denver is the newest member and will join the league on July 1, 2013. Previously known as the Mid-Continent Conference, The Summit League rebranded in 2007 and has since produced 54 All-Americans, 37 Academic All-America selections and seven NCAA Championships. For more information about the league and its history, visit www.thesummitleague.org to "See The Summit" or follow on Twitter @thesummitleague.