BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Frozen Four attendance numbers are out, and the numbers are smaller than what the NCAA is used to.
The NCAA said 13,624 people attended championship game, where Minnesota-Duluth blanked Massachusetts 3-0 on Saturday night at KeyBank Center. The number for the Frozen Four semifinals on Thursday were smaller, with the NCAA reporting 13,051 fans.
KeyBank Center's capacity is more than 19,000.
According to the NCAA's numbers, Buffalo's Frozen Four represents the smallest attendance since 2001, when Albany hosted the event at Pepsi Arena. Both semifinal games that year were sold out with 13,252 fans, and the championship game was over capacity at 13,288.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz offered up one theory Sunday on Twitter.
"When we made the pitch for the bid NCAA officials said so many people travel to attend it annually regardless of who was in the 4 that most tickets would be sold before. That wasn't the case. Price was an issue, so was poor Sabres season IMO hurting marketing and other things," he tweeted.
In 2000, Providence averaged 11,484 fans for the three-game event.
Since the Frozen Four was hosted in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 2002, the average attendance had never dipped below 17,000. Buffalo averaged 18,582 fans when it hosted the event in 2003.
When Ford Field hosted the event in Detroit in 2010, the average was 36,273.
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