COLUMBIA — The Missouri men’s and women’s basketball teams are off to their best starts in years, but home game attendance for both teams has remained almost the same as last year.
The men’s team, No. 10 in the AP poll, is off to a 10-0 start for the first time since the 1991-92 season, while the women’s team has started 7-1 for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
MISSOURI MEN'S BASKETBALL
William and Mary (2-8)
at No. 10 Missouri (10-0)
WHEN: 2 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Mizzou Arena
RADIO: KTGR/1580 AM, 100.5 FM; KCMQ/96.7 FM
Special ticket offers are available - $10 for upper-level seats and $25 for lower-level seats.
Shuttles service will be available free of charge from the Reactor parking lot (Lot R) to Mizzou Arena. Parking at Reactor is also free of charge.
The shuttle drop-off and pick-up area will be on the east side of Mizzou Arena. The shuttle will begin at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday and run for one hour the game.
MISSOURI WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
at Missouri (7-1)
WHEN: 7 p.m. Monday
TV: Fox Sports Midwest
RADIO: KTGR/1580 AM, 100.5 FM; KCMQ/98.7 FM
Toys for Tots
Fans attending the Missouri women's basketball game against Evansville on Monday, Dec. 19, can gain free admission if they bring an unused toy to donate to the Toys for Tots program.
Despite the winning records, more fans aren’t showing up for games.
One of the goals for Missouri women’s basketball coach Robin Pingeton is to get more fans inside Mizzou Arena.
“I believe with all my heart that it’s going to happen sooner than later that over the next few years we’ll be able to have that home court advantage here at Mizzou Arena,” Pingeton said. "It’s always nice to play at home, but that sixth man is so important. It’s not about having home games, but it’s about having that environment."
For the first five women’s home games, the average attendance has been 1,171.
“It’s part of our vision,” Pingeton said. “I think in the next few years, we can have five and six thousand, seven thousand, eight thousand. I think we can just continue to build it.”
But she knows it’s going to take some work. Creating a program that wins games is one of the first steps, as well as having an exciting style of play that’s fun for people to watch.
“I think that what we have to offer is a little bit unique,” Pingeton said of the family environment inside the arena and ticket prices: $5 for adults and $3 for children.
Andrew Grinch, MU's associate athletic director of strategic communications, said that traditionally, marketing efforts focus on conference games and games on weekends when returns on investments can be made.
So far this season, attendance at men’s games has averaged 8,362 up slightly from 8,270 after the first seven home games last year.
Grinch compared attendance to a recipe. Parts of the recipe include people’s interest, awareness, who the opponent is, what day of the week the game is, what time it is and what the weather is like.
“Because of all the different factors, it’s difficult to say this or that works all the time,” Grinch said. “We have to just factor in what we think might work best. A plus B doesn’t always equal C when it comes to attendance.”
Grinch said tickets to the Kansas men's game will be sold out, and other later-season games might sell out, as well.
Of Missouri’s fans, Grinch said, “When the stakes are high, we know they’re going to be there for us.”