College Sports Attendance & Gender – Update 1

So far most of my time has been spent on finding previous research and data collection. Depken, Williams, & Wilson (2011) looked at factors that influence attendance at women’s college basketball game. Some of the factors they found to have an effect included their previous season performance and the performance of other programs such as football and men’s basketball. They referenced several other studies that found in other sports that a college team’s performance in the previous season was a strong predictor of attendance at games the next season. Based on this, I believe using previous performance as a control variable would be effective in this project. I was surprised that there was not more research on the topic of gender discrimination in sports with the news coverage this has received in recent years.

The data I’m collecting came off the NCAA Statistics website ( I wrote a small python script which scraped the data I needed off the html pages. Right now I’m looking at five sports that have both a women’s and men’s program: baseball/softball, basketball, ice hockey, lacrosse, and soccer. Though there are differences, all those sports are similar enough between genders to make a fair comparison. I’ve collected average attendance per game for the 2017-2018 season and win percentage for the 2016-2017 season. By comparing schools that have both a men’s and women’s program for a particular sport, I can more easily control factors that other wise might be difficult to measure, like the school’s sports culture or stadium accessibility. My next step is to find all schools which had data for both men’s and women’s programs for each sport, and then to find a way to compare those schools taking into account the control variable. There will hopefully be pretty graphs and charts to come soon.

Depken, C. A., Williams, C., Wilson, D. P. (2011). From the hardwood to the gridiron to the dorm: influences on attendance to women’s collegiate basketball. International Journal of Sport Finance, 6, 3-22.


  1. Hello!

    Your research topic sounds really interesting. I have heard about pay differences between men’s and women’s teams, but not really attendance. I feel like it might be interesting to also see how various regions around the country have different attendance as well because some sports might be more popular in certain areas. I do not sure this would affect your total data, but it might be interesting to look at!

    I hope the rest of your research/project goes well and I can’t wait to see what you find.

    Margaret Zhao