Tournament Sets Attendance Marks

ATT Stadium

The NCAA tournament set two attendance records Monday night as Connecticut beat Kentucky 60-54 for the national title.

A crowd of 79,238 packed AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas — the largest for a college basketball final. The previous mark of 74,326 was set last year at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

It also was the second-largest basketball crowd in NCAA history, trailing only Saturday’s semifinals, which drew 79,244.

The two-day attendance total of 158,682 also broke the previous mark.

So don’t expect the NCAA to move away from huge venues anytime soon.

“We all love the confines of a nice, tight arena. It’s a great venue for basketball,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said Sunday, adding that the near-term commitment is to play in stadiums. “I know there’s some critique about playing in a big venue like this … or somewhere else. But the reality is you can get 80,000 people in to watch a game, and that’s pretty exciting.

“There may be people that would like to be in a tighter arena, but not the 60,000 that wouldn’t be there.”