Tide Gymnastics No. 1 In Attendance

For the second year in a row, the Alabama gymnastics team, which won its eighth Southeastern Conference Championship last Saturday, led the nation in overall attendance, drawing 106,643 fans over the course of 11 meets.

"Whether we're at home in Coleman Coliseum, at the BJCC last Saturday in Birmingham or across the country, our ladies bring out the fans," Alabama Coach Sarah Patterson said. "We love to compete at home in front of the best fans in the world, but it's gratifying to know that wherever we are, there's going to be a crowd."

Alabama and SEC rival Georgia were the only two gymnastic programs in the nation to draw more than 100,000 fans in 2014, with the Bulldogs tallying 103,745 over 12 meets, while the Crimson Tide's total came over 11 meets. Competing out of the Pac 12, Utah was third in overall attendance with 95,935 fans. The season totals run through last weekend's conference championships, which marks the last week in which all gymnastics team compete.

In addition to having the top-two teams in total attendance, the SEC also led the nation in attendance when it came to conference championships with 8,256 in Birmingham last Saturday. The East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) Championship drew 3,252, followed by the Big 10 (2,754), Big 12 (2,112) and Pac 12 (2,044).

"Our fans were amazing on Saturday," Patterson said of the SEC Championship crowd. "They really inspired our ladies to great heights throughout the night and helped carry us to another championship."

At home, the Crimson Tide averaged 12,826 fans per meet in 2014, which ranks them No. 1 in the SEC and No. 2 nationally among all collegiate women's programs. In the SEC, the top three home draws in women's athletics were Alabama gymnastics, Tennessee basketball (11,600) and Georgia gymnastics (9,504).

"To lead the nation's best conference, not only in terms of gymnastics attendance, but in women's athletics as a whole, is an amazing accomplishment," Patterson said.

Of the four gymnastics programs that rank among the top-12 nationally in women's attendance, three - Alabama, Georgia and Florida - hail from the SEC.

"I'm also proud of the fact that no matter where we go, home or away, we draw a crowd," Patterson said. "The two largest gymnastics crowds that Auburn and LSU have had in their arenas all came when we were there."

This season, Alabama gymnastics sold out Coleman Coliseum on Jan. 24 against Arkansas with 15,075 fans, marking the Tide's 10th sellout in the past nine seasons. Overall, Alabama drew six crowds of 11,000 or more for a total of 76,955 fans for the season.

"I've said it numerous times, we love to compete in front of a big crowd, no matter if it's at home or on the road," Patterson said. "But I can tell you there is nothing like the atmosphere in Coleman Coliseum on a gymnastics Friday night."

Nationally, the Crimson Tide and the Utes were the only women's programs to average more than 12,000 per home contest. Alabama also stands alongside Utah gymnastics, Tennessee basketball and Iowa State basketball as the only collegiate women's programs to average more than 10,000 fans per contest at home this year.

Alabama's highly decorated senior class, which finished their careers in Coleman Coliseum with a perfect 21-0 mark in regular-season meets, averaged just shy of 13,000 fans per meet at home and notched 19 home meets of 10,000 or more fans. The last four years also included 10 meets that drew more than 13,000 fans and four sold-out crowds of 15,075.

Overall, Alabama has averaged over 12,500 fans per meet each of the last five seasons, including a school-record 13,786 in 2010. During that time, Alabama has ranked in the top-3 among all women's sports every year.

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