Student Attendance Dropping for Duke Men’s Basketball Games

Duke University’s student newspaper The Chronicle recently examined why undergraduate student attendance is dropping for Duke Basketball home games.

Declining student attendance at college sporting events is becoming a growing problem among NCAA programs across the country. Even though the popularity of Duke Basketball is at an all-time high, students are still attending fewer home games in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke’s student newspaper The Chronicle recently published a great piece on why undergraduate student attendance is dropping.

The Cameron Crazies have no problem filling Cameron Indoor Stadium for big home games. The Chronicle reports that student tenting for the Duke-UNC rivalry game is already at an all-time high this season. Students also came out strong to the Blue Devils’ ACC-B1G home matchup against Michigan State. However, students are losing interest in attending less popular home games for Duke Basketball.

Graduate student attendance has increased recently to keep the total student population constant. However, when undergraduates do not fill the student section then the remaining spots are sold as general admission tickets. Duke does not provide the number of general admission tickets sold for home games, but the game against the Spartans was the only game reported with no general admission tickets sold so far this season. In contrast, The Chronicle reports Duke Football student attendance has increased albeit the numbers are still well below men’s basketball.

Duke hosts fewer marquee non-conference matchups early in the season, and students are not very interested in watching Maine, Grand Canyon, William & Mary, Appalachian State, etc. in Cameron and prefer to watch from home. Meanwhile, the Blue Devils played most of their primetime non-conference games at neutral site locations.

It’s also possible that this trend continues into ACC play. Duke’s schedule set up to play tougher conference opponents such as Florida State, Louisville, Notre Dame, Virginia, Syracuse on the road in front of packed opposing crowds. Duke will host Miami, NC State, Pitt, and Clemson who are quality ACC teams but not the big-time matchups students want to see.

Students have been a huge part of Duke Basketball’s success in Cameron over the years. Also, they have been a possible weakness for the team in their three conference losses. Duke students will have an opportunity to provide a great environment this weekend when Duke hosts Miami. Students and fans should also be in attendance to voice their displeasure with ESPN, who will also be in Durham all day hosting the first CollegeGameday show of 2017.