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Providence Basketball has already sold 99% of its season tickets for next season

Providence Basketball has already sold 99% of its season tickets for next season

Providence College was a winner at the box office in 2023-2024, and the Friars are primed to enjoy more of the same next basketball season.

The recruitment of two new coaches provided a boost among the men and created new interest among the women. Kim English helped oversee an increase in average attendance at Amica Mutual Pavilion and Erin Batth benefited from nearly double the number of fans in Alumni Hall.

More: Providence basketball coach Kim English has a message for teams trying to lure his players away

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Providence Friars fans cheer on the team during their Nov. 14 game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Amica Mutual Pavilion.Providence Friars fans cheer on the team during their Nov. 14 game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Amica Mutual Pavilion.

Providence Friars fans cheer on the team during their Nov. 14 game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Amica Mutual Pavilion.

Providence has already announced a 99% renewal rate for its 2024-2025 men’s basketball season tickets. The Friars have created a waiting list that could expand to the 11,113 fans they welcomed to an average of 19 home games last season. That was up from an average of 10,608 fans during 17 home dates in 2022-2023.

“Everyone I talk to is so optimistic and excited about the future,” Providence athletic director Steve Napolillo said. “That’s what it’s all about. People invest in something they believe in.”

Providence was stunned last season by the departure of coach Ed Cooley to Big East rival Georgetown. The Friars rallied behind English, who had been hired by George Mason, and a collective sense of resistance surrounding the program. The motivation is to prove that Cooley’s hometown success — seven NCAA Tournament appearances, regular season and conference tournament titles, a first Sweet 16 berth in 25 years — can be maintained regardless of who’s in charge on the sidelines.

“This is a special place,” Napolillo said. “I can’t go anywhere – on a plane, out to dinner with my family. People want to talk about it.”

Steve Napolillo, director of Providence College athletics, says fans are "optimistic and enthusiastic about the future."Steve Napolillo, director of Providence College athletics, says fans are "optimistic and enthusiastic about the future."

Steve Napolillo, director of Providence College athletics, said fans are “optimistic and excited about the future.”

Providence finished 21-14 and reached the NIT behind league player of the year Devin Carter and largely without Bryce Hopkins, who suffered a season-ending left knee injury in early January. The Friars drew 8,069 for a regular-season low against Wagner and peaked at 12,608 for the final against eventual national champion Connecticut. Cooley’s return with the Hoyas was one of ten home crowds over 12,000, which is essentially a sellout.

“They have done a great job creating an experience at the AMP that is one of the best in the country,” Napolillo said. “I firmly believe that.”

How will Providence continue to market its product despite continued roster turnover? Carter has spoken out in favor of the NBA Draft, and reforms in the NCAA — the transfer portal, money for players through name, image and likeness rights — make it less likely that programs will be built around developing recognizable four-year stars. Napolillo’s background with the Pawtucket Red Sox before moving to intercollegiate athletics gives him an idea of ​​how to adapt.

“We used to always sell having an incredible experience with family, friends, your kids and your grandparents,” Napolillo said. “Providence College has become the event in Rhode Island. Going to those games is the hottest ticket in town.

Would the brothers be willing to give up one or two home appointments to augment their non-conference schedule? The Gavitt Games series with the Big Ten and the Big East-Big 12 Battle will both conclude in the coming years. Providence could be forced to challenge itself with home-and-home series or look to neutral floors at Mohegan Sun, Madison Square Garden or Barclays Center to book headline opponents.

“We are currently monitoring all of these offers,” Napolillo said. “I think you should keep all those windows open. What is best for your program?

“At the end of the day, the ultimate goal is to get to the NCAA Tournament. Those are all on the table, and they are real.”

"Brother Dom" waves to fans during a Jan. 25 game against the Butler Bulldogs at Amica Mutual Pavilion."Brother Dom" waves to fans during a Jan. 25 game against the Butler Bulldogs at Amica Mutual Pavilion.

“Friar Dom” waves to fans during a Jan. 25 game against the Butler Bulldogs at Amica Mutual Pavilion.

The Friars have gone from a women’s average of 474 fans in 2022-23 to 809 in 2023-24. There was a renewed marketing push behind Batth, who replaced Jim Crowley. Providence reached the WNIT to make it 17 home dates on campus.

The University of Rhode Island continues to set the attendance standard when it comes to the women’s game in the state. The Rams reached an Atlantic 10 title game after back-to-back WNIT appearances, and interest in the program continues to grow. URI averaged 1,674 fans through 15 home dates in 2023-2024, another jump from 1,397 to 16 home dates in 2022-2023.

Take a look at the numbers at the Ryan Center before coach Tammi Reiss took over in 2019-20. The Rams averaged 429 fans across 14 home dates in 2018-19 – a total of 6,011. Last season, URI needed just four games to surpass that total.

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This article originally appeared in The Providence Journal: Providence baseball is selling 99% of its season tickets for next season