2007 was the high watermark for Championship Weekend attendance: 123,225 knuckleheads passed through the gates at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore to watch top-seeded Duke, third-seeded Johns Hopkins, fourth-seeded Cornell, and an unseeded Delaware team battle for the national championship (the Blue Jays would end Memorial Monday with a victory lap after sending Duke to the showers). Since then, though, attendance at the Final Four has been anathema, slowly degrading over the course of time:
- 2008: Total attendance -- 121,511 (Gillette Stadium)
- 2009: Total attendance -- 102,601 (Gillette Stadium)
- 2010: Total attendance -- 102,219 (M&T Bank Stadium)
- 2011: Total attendance -- 98,786 (M&T Bank Stadium)
- 2012: Total attendance -- 79,959 (Gillette Stadium)
- 2013: Total attendance -- 79,179 (Lincoln Financial Field)
There was a lot of hope that Baltimore could reverse the trend this year, putting a little juice back into an event that has seen its attendance drop to the point that has driven many to consider drastic overhauls to the weekend. As the Baltimore Business Journal reports, the Charm City hasn't -- on its own -- created a radical surge in ticket sales:
Around 65,000 tickets have been sold for this weekend’s NCAA Lacrosse Men’s Championships at M&T Bank Stadium, a spokeswoman for the organization said Tuesday, keeping the event on pace to match last year’s attendance in Philadelphia.
That's not terrible, but it also isn't a pace that indicates that M&T Bank Stadium is going to have a gigantic crowd that harkens back to the late-2000's. There are still a few more days until the games face-off (and walk-ups could push the number higher), but at this point it appears as if meeting what Philadelphia and Foxborough did the last two seasons would be a solid mark.