As TucsonCitizen.com sports director Anthony Gimino pointed out today in his blog, the Arizona Wildcat baseball program struck gold by switching its home games to Hi Corbett Field this season.
The UA increased its ticket revenue by 407 percent from last season when the Cats played at Sancet Field.
Attendance at Hi Corbett for the Wildcats’ two games against St. John’s in the NCAA Super Regional round last weekend did not rate well against other schools. An average of 3,211 watched the games, which were played at noon in the hot Tucson sun. That ranks seventh of the eight venues. Only UCLA ranked lower than Arizona, averaging 2,089 in two games against TCU at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
The average attendance at the Super Regional, however, was more than what Arizona averaged during its lucrative inaugural season at Hi Corbett Field. Gimino reports that the average attendance of 2,628 fans for 40 dates at Hi Corbett — including the postseason — ranked second in the Pac-12 behind Arizona State (2,834), according to numbers collected by Tami Cutler of Wichita State athletic media relations.
Gimino also writes that Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne told Alicia Jessop of Forbes that revenue from regular-season ticket sales increased from $69,000 last season to $350,000 this season.
The midday games in the glaring sun affected the UA’s attendance last weekend against St. John’s as did the games being televised by ESPN2. Under different circumstances, the UA’s attendance would likely be more, but still not as high as the schools from the Sun Belt region.
LSU was eliminated by Stony Brook despite averaging 9,763 fans for the three games in Baton Rouge, La.
South Carolina averaged 8,242 fans in its two-game sweep of Oklahoma, and Baylor was third averaging 5,062 in its three games against Arkansas.
By contrast, the three Pac-12 teams that hosted Super Regional games — Oregon, Arizona and UCLA — finished at the bottom in average attendance in the Super Regional round.
College baseball has not taken hold of this region as it has in the south. LSU ranked first in the nation with an average of 10,736 fans per home game. Five of the top six teams in average attendance were from the SEC.
In terms of Arizona, the program is re-emerging under coach Andy Lopez after going through lean years beginning in the 1990s. Arizona softball, meanwhile, gained popularity with its success and multiple national championships. Baseball is making a comeback in Tucson. Lopez has credited the move to Hi Corbett Field for the program’s resurgence.
Here are the attendance figures from last weekend’s NCAA Super Regional games:
LSU vs. Stony Brook (Alex Box Stadium, Baton Rouge, La.)
Game 1 — 9,446
Game 2 — 9,222
Game 3 — 10,620
South Carolina vs. Oklahoma (Carolina Stadium, Columbia, S.C.)
Game 1 — 8,242
Game 2 — 8,242
Baylor vs. Arkansas (Baylor Ballpark, Waco, Texas)
Game 1 — 5,007
Game 2 — 5,038
Game 3 — 5,059
Florida vs. NC State (McKethan Stadium, Gainesville, Fla.)
Game 1 — 5,117
Game 2 — 4,568
Florida State vs. Stanford (Dick Howser Stadium, Tallahassee, Fla.)
Game 1 — 4,067
Game 2 — 4,673
Oregon vs. Kent State (PK Park, Eugene, Ore.)
Game 1 — 4,177
Game 2 — 3,843
Game 3 — 4,825
Arizona vs. St. John’s (Hi Corbett Field)
Game 1 — 2,514
Game 2 — 3,907
UCLA vs. TCU (Jackie Robinson Stadium, Los Angeles)
Game 1 — 2,042
Game 2 — 2,135