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Knoxville Rated as 2nd-Best Market for College Basketball in ’18-’19

(Photo via Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics)

Tennessee is more than just a football school, and that’s never been more evident than this basketball season.

According to numbers released from ESPN, Knoxville was the second-best market for college basketball in both men’s and women’s hoops for the 2018-19 regular season. Louisville by far led the way with a 4.2 rating for the season on the men’s side, but Knoxville came in second place with a 2.9 rating, beating out Raleigh-Durham (2.8) and Greensboro-High Point (2.7) in North Carolina.

Tennessee’s men’s team this season enjoyed one of the best regular seasons in school history. The Vols soared to No. 1 in the AP Poll and stayed there for four-straight weeks, and UT won a program record 19-straight games at one point in the season. This year’s team won 27 games in the regular season, the second-most wins in the regular season in school history.

Even with the Lady Vols struggling this season, Vol fans still viewed their games almost more than any other market.

Only the Hartford & New Haven market (1.2) in Connecticut beat out the Knoxville market (0.9) in women’s basketball this season. That’s even after the Lady Vols stumbled to an 18-11 regular season record, one of their worst regular seasons in Lady Vols’ history.

The Vols’ match-up with Kentucky in Lexington was also the fifth-most watched college basketball game on ESPN’s family of networks this season. Five of the top six most viewed games on ESPN this year involved Duke, but the lone game that didn’t was the Tennessee-Kentucky game in Rupp Arena on February 16th. That game was watched by just over three million viewers.

This past season, Vol fans flocked to see the men’s team in droves during the regular season. Thompson-Boling Arena had multiple sellouts this season, and there was an average of over 19,000 Vol fans in attendance for every home game. That ranked in the top five in average attendance in all of college basketball this season.

Even when the Vols have struggled over the last few years, Vol fans have supported the team. Thompson-Boling Arena consistently ranks inside the top 10 in average attendance per season, and Tennessee has been in the top 20 in average home attendance every season since 2005.

Vol fans should have plenty more opportunities to watch their men’s and women’s teams in action over the next few weeks. The men’s team will be back on the court on Friday, March 15th in the SEC Tournament, and the Lady Vols are expected to earn a berth in the NCAAW Tournament this Sunday and will play next week.

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