2017 MEN’S NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Wednesday, March 22 – Saturday, March 25
- IUPUI Natatorium – Indianapolis, IN
- Prelims 10AM/Finals 6PM (Eastern Time)
- Defending Champion: Texas (results)
- Championship Central
- Psych Sheet
- Live stream: Wednesday/Thursday Prelims & Finals, Friday/Saturday Prelims / Friday/Saturday finals on ESPN3
- Event Previews
- Live Results
This year’s NCAA Men’s Division I Championships sold 11,680 spectator tickets, combined single-session and all-session. This number is second-to-only last season’s attendance at Georgia Tech, where 13,306 tickets were sold.
You can see a comparison of tickets sold at the last seven Men’s NCAA DI Championships below:
|2012||California||Federal Way, WA||8,194|
|2015||Texas||Iowa City, IA||6,783|
Last month, we wrote about the relative emptiness of the stands at the IUPUI Natatorium for the 2017 Women’s NCAA DI Championships, which sold about 1,600 fewer tickets than the men’s: 10,031 total. That number was also second only to last year’s meet at Georgia Tech, in women’s NCAA Nationals tickets sold.
However, we observed that the IUPUI Natatorium is so large that even a record-shattering crowd (at either competition) could leave hundreds of seats empty per-session, especially during the weekday and prelim swims. The facility has the capacity to seat 4,700 spectators, compared to the smaller, but still top-flight aquatic centers at the University of Minnesota (1,346 seats) and Georgia Tech (1,900 seats). Some of the excitement and cheering can get lost in the big facility, especially for onlookers whose last major meet was the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha. That meet sold out across 15 sessions with a seating capacity of around 18,000.
The article about the NCAA women’s meet attendance sparked a thoughtful discussion in the comment section, with suggestions of different ways to increase attendance at both championships. Commenters had tons of suggestions, from offering free tickets to local swim teams and classrooms, to ensuring that local age group meets aren’t held on the same weekend as major college meets, to changing the meet format so that it doesn’t take place mostly during the work week, and re-formatting the online ticket sales.
We know that American interest in the sport is at an all-time high, and that Midwestern swim fans and willing travelers can fill even an entire CenturyLink Center of seats. We also know that the NCAA DI Championships are a hotbed of some of the fastest swimmers in the world competing for a team-based swimming title unlike any other. Though the second-largest ticket sales in history is an admirable stat, it would be worth a push to pack the stands, even at a huge facility like Indiana’s.