Dayton Loves Its Hoops05.29.2013 | Athletics
People in Dayton love their college basketball. And, they love watching it on TV, as well as in person.
For the second straight year, the Dayton market ranks eighth in the nation in the number of television sets tuning to ESPN for college basketball. Only Louisville, Ky.; Greensboro, N.C.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Indianapolis; Kansas City, Mo.; Cincinnati; and Columbus, Ohio, ranked higher.
Dayton has ranked in the top 14 all 11 years ESPN has researched 56 metered markets that carried its college basketball games. Dayton has been in the top 10 three straight years and four of the last six.
In addition to ESPN's figures, the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship pulled big ratings in the region. The Dayton market ranked fifth in the nation.
For college basketball fans flipping on the tube for a game, finding the Dayton Flyers has never been easier. The Flyers average at least 25 games on TV a year and had 26 last season. In addition to the ESPN family of networks, regional and national outlets Fox Sports Ohio, Time Warner Cable SportsChannel, CBS College Sports and NBC College Sports featured the Flyers.
The University also has one of the strongest and most long-lasting local television packages in the nation. CBS affiliate WHIO-TV, the network’s No. 1 affiliate for total all-day viewership, has carried Flyers games since 1952. It pre-empts network programming more than 10 times a year to carry Flyer basketball games.
Turning on the TV is not the only way fans in Dayton support college basketball, though.
University of Dayton Arena has been among the national leaders in attendance since it opened for the 1969-70 season. In 2011-12, the arena was 28th with an average of 12,154 fans a game, according to NCAA figures. National attendance figures have not released for the 2012-13 season, but the University of Dayton is poised to be among the nation's leaders with an average of 12,438 fans a game.
Home is not the only place the hearts are for the Flyers. They had the most fans of any out-of-town team at last year’s Charleston Classic and the 2011 Old Spice Classic. Dayton already has pre-sold the most tournament packages for the eight-team EA Sports Maui Invitational this year.