Both the BYU and UC Irvine fans turned out for the national championship and helped it become one of the highest attended finals in recent history.
The No. 2 seed UC Irvine swept the No. 1 seed BYU to repeat as national champions Saturday at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion in front of a crowd of 6,295 people — the highest attended NCAA championship match since 1999 that didn’t feature the host school playing in the match.
The UC Irvine-BYU championship match had about a 3,000 person attendance decrease from the 2012 NCAA finals at USC. However, the Trojans as the host school reached that title match and lost to the Anteaters in three games.
Before this year’s championship match, the last NCAA final without a host school playing in it was 2011 at Penn State, which had a 3,683 attendance. The 2013 finals attendance was also better than the last time UC Irvine hosted the NCAA Tournament in 2008 and BYU hosted the NCAA Tournament in 2009.
This was the 15th time in the last 30 years that a NCAA championship match had more than 6,000 people in attendance.
The championship attendance record was set in 1998 NCAA Tournament at Hawai’i when 9,822 people were in attendance to see UCLA sweep Pepperdine.
In addition, the attendance record for a NCAA Tournament championship match played at UCLA remains the 1984 finals when UCLA defeated Pepperdine to win its fourth consecutive NCAA title. The 2013 finals ranks as the fourth least attended championship match held at UCLA.
Both BYU and UC Irvine advanced to the championship match after getting sweeps in the NCAA Tournament semifinals Thursday. The two semifinal matches had a combined attendance of 2,935.