The 10 millionth fan to see a Dayton Flyers men’s basketball game at UD Arena will pass through the doors Sunday when the team begins Atlantic 10 Conference play with a noon game against Richmond at UD Arena.
Dayton enters game needing 380 fans to hit the milestone. It will select a fan at random — trying to judge when the 380th fan will enter the arena — and give that fan and his or her friends or family members upgraded seats at courtside along with a prize package.
Dayton will become the 11th program to draw 10 million fans to its arena, joining Purdue, Butler, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Mexico, Syracuse and Vanderbilt. Dayton’s number doesn’t include fans who have attended games at the First Four or Dayton women’s basketball games or other events.
“It speaks volumes to our history, our tradition and our fan base,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said Thursday. “It’ll be an historic event. I think the 10 millionth fan will be extremely blessed and honored to be that person who gets that recognition, but I think it speaks volumes about our entire fan base and the support we’ve gotten for so many decades and over so any years of Flyer basketball history.”
This is the 50th season of basketball at UD Arena. The facility will celebrate its 50th birthday on Dec. 6, 1969. That was the date of the first game against Bowling Green. UD drew its one millionth fan (Herbert Toohey) on Dec. 5, 1974, for a game against No. 6 Louisville.
Dayton hit the five-million mark on Dec. 21, 1994. The fan was Lisa Koepfer, then 35, of Springboro. She received two free airline tickets, a room at the Marriott and a rental car.
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Dayton has averaged 12,897 fans in eight home games this season. In the previous 49 seasons, Dayton averaged 11,952 fans with the low average of 9,950 coming in 1982-83 and the high average of 13,018 coming in 2016-17.
Dayton ranked 23rd in the nation in attendance last season (12,996) and has finished in the top 30 in the nation 20 straight seasons.