Southeastern Conference men's basketball saw a record number of fans pass through the turnstiles of the league's arenas in 2008-09. The league surpassed the 2.5 million mark for the third consecutive year with a total of 2,638,852 fans attending SEC games this season.
The SEC ranked second nationally among conferences with an average attendance of 11,625. The Big Ten led all conferences with 2,416,234 fans for an average of 12,519 per game. The Atlantic Coast (10,943), Big East (10,882) and Big 12 (10,395) were the only other conferences to average more than 10,000 per game.
The SEC was one of three conferences to establish new attendance records, joining the Missouri Valley Conference (1,341,151) and the West Coast Conference (332,532).
Only four of the 330 Division I teams topped the 20,000 per game plateau in 2008-09. Two of those hailed from the SEC. For the fourth consecutive year, Kentucky led the nation with an average of 22,239 fans per game. Tennessee was fourth nationally with an average of 20,483 per game. Syracuse was second in the nation at 21,044 and North Carolina was third with 21,035. Kentucky has led the nation in attendance 13 of the last 14 seasons.
The SEC boasted eight of the top 50 schools in the country in average home attendance. Eleven of the 12 SEC schools were ranked among the top 100. Arkansas (11th with 16,043 per game) and Vanderbilt (25th with 13,276 per game) also ranked among the top 25. LSU experienced the third-largest increase in attendance from the previous season with an additional 1,808 fans per game for an average of 10,373.
Across all NCAA Divisions, 33,111,020 fans attended college basketball games this season, which ranks as the second-highest in NCAA history and is just the second time ever that the 33-million fan mark has been reached. Division I achieved its second-highest total in history with 27,767,111 fans in 2008-09.