« Notre Dame vs. Duke: Halftime thoughts | Main | Terps land five on women's All-America teams »

Championship final doesn't draw interest

The NCAA just announced that Monday's paid attendance for the championship final is 37,126, which is the smallest crowd to watch a title game since the sport moved to NFL stadiums for the 2003 season.

For the entire three-day weekend, the attendance was 116,289. That's only slightly larger than the 106,861 fans in 2003 and the 102,601 in 2009.

Posted by Edward Lee at 5:37 PM | | Comments (36)


Baltimore only has big crowds when Area teams are playing. We are no better or worse than New England. If it is Navy, Maryland, Hopkins, type Final four, then Baltimore shows up.

Still good numbers for a sport that is still not mainstream.

With NO local teams are you surprised?

Lack of Syracuse fans not to mention JHU and MD hurt attendance.

This year's finals crowd may be the smallest since going to NFL facilities, but the weekend's total attendance was up by more than 14% over last year's. That is more than your claim that it was up 'only slightly' - what is 'only slightly' is how much smaller 2009's total attendance was than 2003's = just under 4.2%...this isn't rocket science, this is simple arithmetic...BE ACCURATE!

maybe the feel of the NFL stadiums "robbing" the fans has something to do with the attendance numbers---
ticket prices are bad enough, but $20 parking followed by the search and seizure for bringing in bottled drinks in 90 degree temps is a bit much.
then, to add insult to injury, to charge $4 for a bottle of water is enough to keep me away next year!!

And they probably lost some fans to boredom during the game, although Rodgers played out of his mind. This game should open up serious debate for a shot clock.

Perhaps having the Womens championships on Sunday instead of the Mens D II and III would have drawn more interest. It is tough to attract a crowd from New England (Tufts) with only one week advance notice. Who expected LeMoyne and C.W. Post to attract large crowds?
Perhaps the hot weather drove people away.
If Virgina was playing, you bet there would have been more butts in the seats.

CORRECTING MY PREVIOUS POST UNDER MY PSUDEONYM: 2010 is up 13.3% over 2009...not the 14+% I claimed - so I too need to be, as I admonished you to be, any case, any difference of more than 10% is more than "only slightly"...thanks, I love reading you guys through the season...

Baltimore Fans don't show up AGAIN!!! It is not a sports town. Look how many pro teams have left due to lack of support. Please dont mention the 8 days the ravens play. The O's have the best park in MLB.and can't draw 20,000. Dont blame it on losing or the owner. Plenty of losing teams outdraw them. Maryland is the mecca of Lacrosse and a disappointing showing at the finals is embarassing. Shame on Baltimore.

The NCAA made a huge mistake going to NFL stadiums for these games. It doesn't feel like a college atmosphere, and the previous poster is right -- the security/NFL policy rules at the gates are garbage. Can't even take water in on a 90-degree day?? Last time it was in Baltimore, they told me I couldn't take a diaper bag in. I had a 2-year-old, I was planning to be there for five hours for two games,and I can't take in a diaper bag. Totally stupid policy. Fortunately, some kind woman at one of the gates, who told me she was a grandmother, said she'd turn the other way so I could get my diaper bag in. But policies like that, and $20 parking, and no-water rules so they can gouge you inside, really piss off fans. Good for them for staying away. I haven't been back since the diaper bag fiasco.

Congratulations to John Danowski and the Duke Blue Devils on their first NCAA Men's Lacrosse Division I Championship. Everyone from your hometown of East Meadow, NY and your true friends from Hofstra University are extremely proud of the way your have handled matters at Duke during your four year tenure. You have finally achieved the pinnacle of success in your coaching career and look forward to your 300th victory and next championship in the near future.

A couple of things here; first and foremost, had Hopkins, Navy , MD, UMBC, Towson or Loyola been in the mix, the stadium would of set attendance records. The 'Cuse and or Duke, VA, etc., playing one of the MD teams would of put fans in the stand. Economically, times are still tough for many people and the games do get expensive with the 4.00 waters, souveniers, parking etc. The big stadium venues are great facilities, but do take away from the collegiate atomosphere. On such hot days, it is absurd to prohibit one to bring in a bottle or three of water. Shame on the organizers for this.

I think you guys are missing the real reason fans stayed away. Tickets were only sold in 3-day blocks. My brother and I haven't missed an NCAA D-1 championship game in either B-more or College Park since we were kids, but we couldn't get single-game tickets for today's game. No walk-up sales? On a gorgeous, sunny day like today? That's absurd. Yes, I realize it was hot, but the harbor was packed. Tons of people would have bought tickets, but not if they had to buy three days' worth of tickets just to see one game. Just another ill-conceived policy to add to the list...

Stayed home to watch in the comfort of an air-conditioned living room on Sunday. We also were influenced by foul-mouthed fans on Saturday who we concluded were drunk vs. mentally ill (may have been both). We didn't want to take our young son back to listen to these imbeciles on Monday. Not a family friendly environment.

We're going to blame the parking fee for attendance? Good stuff. How about the 70k+ that showed for Chelsea v. AC Milan...both of those teams are a few miles from Baltimore.

Why would you pay $20.00 for parking when you can park on the street for free? Been doing this for every stadium event in Baltimore for years and never had a problem.

Look I hate corporatism as much as anyone but $35.00 to see both Saturday games in the upper deck is a great deal. Nose bleeds? No way, best view up there for both lacrosse and football.

Pelham: So you're saying it's not the owners fault that they can't fill Camden Yards anymore? Clearly you're not from Baltimore.

I pointed this out the other day, but the media and NCAA has to figure out what's more important, drawing crowds or spreading the game. The NCAA indicated it wants to grow the sport. hence the decision to hold the previous tournaments in New England - as fan -unfriendly a place as there is. Baltimore put on a good host program, lots of events, lots of promotion. It's not the host city's fault that the typical powers aren't in the final, or even in the semis. So don't penalize Baltimore for the crowd numbers if the big guns aren't in the finals. We had an excellent weekend of lacrosse. And, those who thought ND would get blown out in the final, what a game. So I think the prognosticators and the NCAA elite need to figure out what's more important... the kind of crowd numbers a Syracuse/UVA game would create, or a fantastic experience, in a fan-friendly city, during a fantastic weekend of lax.

The women's finals on Sunday set records and they had tickets you could purchase at the box office that day. I'm not surprised that the men's finals did not have tickets available although it is sort of shocking and a somewhat stupid policy.

so you're complaining about attendance when the 3-day numbers were up from last year? silly.

No one has commented...yet about the late start for these games this year - 4:00 pm and 6:30 - 7:00 pm. That is a big time error; too much tailgating, too much sun exposure, etc and I think that contributed to the general fan attitude in the stadium. If you want to put the college atmosphere back into the tournament, get these games going (again) for a12 noon face off...

No local (U of M, JHU, UVA) teams involved.


93 degree air temperature at game time (had to be hotter in the seats)

+ stupid ticket policy

= smaller attendance

Let's see now. Move the game time from noon - when day trippers can make it without an overnight hotel - to 4 pm when they can't. Then don't sell single game or walk up tickets. Attendance is down? Go figure. Nothing of note on TV in early afternoon to require the move for TV so don't try to blame ESPN. Another NCAA fiasco.

I agree with the previous posters who harped on the change of the game times.

As someone who drove to B'more from Pittsburgh for the weekend, I found the 3:30 title game on Monday completely absurd. No need to throw that whole day away waiting for a game that worked just fine in the late morning/early afternoon during years past.

LAX is better watched from the field anyway. What a big ripoff! $20 parking and no diaper bag.

" NCAA has to figure out what's more important, drawing crowds or spreading the game."

Please, Please do not take the NFL,NBA,MLB path. The game is to noble for that kind of overpriced crap. I want to see players with heart not deep pockets. You know, actually see the best players in the world. Not some first round draft pick of some guy from the D.R.

It probably would've helped if MD, Hopkins and or Cuse were in the semis, but by far the biggest difference was the later start to games, which makes travel home after the final difficult and made an overnight stay necessary for many after the semis. YThis more significant than who played, although I am sure that is what the locals will cling to. I wonder if the difference in TV ratings makes up for the drop in attendance.

Having played, coached and watched lacrosse for over 40 years, I am disappointed in the rules concerning contact. It seems that if you touch another player they call a foul. Defense is about intimidation and if a offensive player wants to take a shot , he should pay the price. I watched all five games and seldom saw a shooter prone after taking a shot.

g kay, good points. I understand moving the games for late afternoon/early evening because the "U" probably had decent viewing numbers this season putting many games in prime time so why not for the F4?

I understand the why, but the late start is hard on kids when they've been spooled up all day in the parking lot and then transition to a stadium without a break. I noticed a lot of gassed little people by the start of the second contest, not to mention a lot of toasted adults...

So many good and worthwhile points! Except on the Orioles - need new ownership!
+Was hot, but the last time the games were in town it rained or was rainy.
+You're right, this is a college game, not the NFL. Can't bring in a diaper bag, but you can bring in lax sticks & equipment? The NCAA just doesn't want the kid to be one of the (next generation) 500,000 student-athletes?
+4.00 for water is atrocious - period whether NCAA or Ravens!
+No Monday walk up ticket sales is not well thought out - Must be the brainstorm of one of the 400,000 student-athletes turned pro as a Business major?
+Not standard game times, but on this weekend that lead to a little less heat inside, while spectators were heating up outside!
+Parking - concur with on the street for FREE. Also been doing it for years, BUT. Out of towners (welcome) is no different than a Baltimoron going to say gillette stadium!
+Home town flavor always puts more fans in the stands!
+Weekend attendance was up by whatever pct over 10 you care to quote. Still excellent.
+Women played in front of almost 10,000 at sold-out Towson? Why, Maryland women, though NW had its fair share on hand!
+Not that they'll do anythng about it but write the NCAA with your displeasure of the venue and appurtenances. It'll fall on deft ears, but will make you feel better!

Two things:
1) No local team. When Syracuse lost in the semis in the Carrier Dome many years ago, attendance dropped from 20+ thousand during the semis to 9+ thousand in the finals. Not unexpected.
2) Ticket package - having to buy tickets to all games. I realize the NCAA wants to get more people at the D2/D3 finals but this hurts getting fans to the other 2 days of competition. Paying (and getting to go) to 3 days of lax during a holiday weekend is difficult for local families. 3 days of lax is easier for people who have traveled here (staying in a hotel).

All the poor men with their less than interested crowd of only 106 thousand + for all of their games. Well, those fans should have gone to Towson for the Lady Terps-Northwestern Championship. All 3 nights up there were record breaking crowds. Sunday's championship one day crowd of 9800 plus was the LARGEST in the U.S Lacrosse history.

Plus the Lady Terps-NW game was much exciting and fun to watch the hometown Terps overcome a 6-0 NW lead to tie 8-8 at 1/2 time and then win the game 13-11. More excitng and fun than the boring Duke 6-5 win over Notre Dame by a far mile.

Here are the numbers. More than respectable without the locals in my book. Not the far off from Boston last year. Here's data for last 4 years.

Baltimore 2010

Div 1 Semis = 44,389
Div I Final = 37,126
Div II Final = 20,734

Total = 102,219

Foxborough 2009

Div 1 Semis = 36,594
Div 1 Final = 41,935
Div II Final = 24,072

Total = 102,601

Foxborough 2008

Div I Semis = 48,224
Div I Final = 48,970
Div II FInal = 24,317
Total = 121,511

Baltimore 2007

Div I Semis = 52,004
Div I Final = 48,443
Div II Final = 22,778

Total = 123,225

Here's a link to the data as far back as 1992.

"Plus the Lady Terps-NW game was much exciting and fun to watch"

God, I would rather watch paint dry than ladies LAX. I would rather watch MLB and I would pull my eyes out first before MLB.

Sold out game times to ESPN. Hit the road home at 6:00 p.m. on Memorial Day? Screw the fans.

Baltimore vs Boston. Have been last 3 yrs. Some commenting up above about attendence being hurt by no local teams - Boston had no local teams (there are none except Tufts) last two years and out drew. So that is not all of it. Heat was brutal, late games hurt (tho in talking about growth of the game, would be curious to see TV ratings comparisons), but also impacted some of the party atmosphere AFTER the game - we were told that cars in parking lot an hour after last game were to be towed. In Boston the party went on for hours after the last game on Saturday. Having a live concert at 10PM, where for a college event you had to be age 21 (for alcohol) - where were people's brains on that? Liked being able to hit bars and restaraunts in neighborhood in Baltimore - Boston didnt have this at all. Loved the weekend, but could have been better.

Single game tickets were available. Just not until Friday. I got lucky and got 14th row right behind the Duke bench.
Yes, water was expensive - no different than any other sporting event at a major stadium.
My son and I had a great time and will be back again in the future!

Complaints about parking? Sure, it's expensive -- sort of a "tailgate tax". But why not take the Light Rail? It stops adjacent to the stadium and there are many stops with parking lots. I come in from Hampden in an air-conditioned train and have a short walk to and from the stadium. Maybe if they raise the parking fee even more, people will decide to catch on.

Yeah, the $4 cost for water for a product I can always find at retail for less than a dollar and in bulk for a lot less is clearly price gouging. What's their per item cost, 5 cents or less? There must have been 50-60 people in line at the water fountain for refills at halftime. Honestly, I'm surprised they didn't turn the fountains off to stick us even harder.

Glad to see the last comment about walk-up sales. Maybe they should have advertised that policy more aggressively. Memorial Day Monday was a great day for lacrosse -- any outdoor sport, for that matter. With the comments about no single tickets, I had visions of airlines not selling empty seats if passengers did not buy on time. Not gonna happen.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Please enter the letter "b" in the field below:
About Faceoff
Faceoff is The Baltimore Sun's blog devoted to college and high school lacrosse. Faceoff contributors include Sun reporters Edward Lee, Mike Preston and Katherine Dunn.

Most Recent Comments
Sign up for FREE local sports alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for local sports text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
Photo galleries
Blog updates
Recent updates to sports blogs  Subscribe to this feed