If you can’t wait for the start of the high school sports season, you’re obviously not alone.
A survey by the National Federation of State High School Associations shows that more fans attend high school football and basketball games than college and pro basketball and football games combined.
During the 2009-10 school year, about 336 million fans attended high school regular-season and playoff games in football and girls and boys basketball. At the college and pro levels, there were 133 million spectators, according to the federation.
The federation surveyed high school athletic directors and multiplied the average regular-season attendance in each sport by the number of schools in each enrollment category — small, medium and large — that sponsor the sport. A similar method was used to determine overall attendance at postseason events conducted by NFHS-member state associations.
The federation also said that attendance in the top 16 participation sports was 510 million in 2009-10. The other sports were baseball, cross country, field hockey, golf, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, volleyball, water polo and wrestling.
Basketball was the No. 1 spectator draw with about 170 million fans, followed by football with 166 million. Soccer ranked third at 24 million.
This was the first survey attempt by the federation to determine national attendance figures.
“This first-of-its-kind survey of attendance figures at the high school level is certainly a great sign that high school sports continue to be a big part of communities throughout our nation,” said Bob Gardner, the federation’s executive director.