The drawing power of visiting teams: A look at four schools

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Which teams in women's college basketball are the best road draws? We can't answer that question authoritatively, but we can look at four of of the usual suspects for the 2013-14 season.

In the universe of Division I schools, there are cases where you can get a bump in attendance. Maybe an arch-rival is coming to town. Maybe you've papered the town with giveaway tickets. Maybe it's Senior Day. A home team can do a lot to boost its attendance.

I decided to flip this question on its head - how much does a visiting team boost the attendance of the home team? Visiting teams certainly can't paper the town crying "come see the visitors" and they depend on how and why and where the home team schedules them. But if visiting teams have a lot of drawing power, then a resulting boost in home attendance beyond the norm for the home team should be fairly obvious.

Of course, getting an exact value for how much having Visiting Team X visit increases a team's home attendance would be a project of almost impossible scope. There are just too many variables floating around.

  • When was the game scheduled? Morning or night? Weekday or weekend?
  • Does the home team normally draw a lot of fans, or draw very little? In the first case, the drawing power of the visitors will be understated (the home team gets a lot of fans anyway) and in the second case, it will be overstated.
  • What kinds of promotions does the home team have going on? For example, is this a kid's game?
  • Is this a rivalry game of some sort?
  • Are the teams ranked?
  • Is the game being televised?
  • Does the local media care about the game?
  • What's the weather like? (Don't laugh.)

Of course, just because we can't draw any conclusions doesn't mean we can't have a little fun. I decided to look at four teams that you'd think would be teams that you'd love to have visit.

Connecticut: Might be the best team of the 21st century (so far), and this year's team is outstanding.
Notre Dame: These guys have alumni everywhere, and the women's team is no slouch.
Stanford: If there's Final Four contention at stake, you have to pencil in Stanford automatically.
Tennessee: The gold standard of women's basketball branding. A storied history, and always powerful.

So what impact has each of these team had on attendance as a visiting team?

Below for each team is the list of games each of the four teams above has played as a visitor. (Note that we count any game played in Connecticut as a home game for Connecticut.)

The column called "actual" is the actual attendance reported in the box score.
The column called "avg weighted" is what we'd expect average attendance to be against an average opponent. This is weighted over the last five years of attendance (2009-2013) with the most recent year getting the most weight.

The ratios next to each of the teams at the far right are the actual attendance divided by average weighted attendance.

The bottom lines associated with each of the three teams are the results lines.

"Total" is the total impact as a visiting team against average weighted home attendance. All teams are considered. The percentage listed is the percentage increase in home attendance vs expected total average weighted home attendance.

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