November 8, 2023

Contact: Geoff Kimmerly
517.332.5046 or [email protected]

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Nov. 8 – The Michigan High School Athletic Association welcomed its highest spectator turnout in six years in 2022-23, as a total of 1,457,813 fans attended postseason competitions for which admission is charged – an increase of nearly 10 percent over the previous school year and the highest count since 2016-17.  

The MHSAA annually tracks attendance for all sports except golf, skiing and tennis, as single tickets are not sold for those sports. The 2022-23 attendance totals included 1,008,070 spectators for boys and 449,743 for girls tournament events – and those totals also were six-year highs.

Three MHSAA Tournaments set records for total series attendance. Softball welcomed 47,696 fans, breaking the previous record set in 2016-17. Baseball counted 63,844 fans – including records at the District and Regional level – bettering the previous record set just a season before. Girls and boys bowling, with their tournaments conducted concurrently, counted 16,482 fans, breaking the record set in 2019-20 and with an all-time high for the Regional level.

Among other single-round record-setters, Individual Wrestling Regionals counted 10,782 spectators, the most for that level of that tournament since 2001-02. The Ice Hockey Semifinals & Finals drew 15,204 fans, besting the previous high from 2013-14. Girls Competitive Cheer Districts drew 13,374 spectators, their most since 2015-16, and Boys Lacrosse Regionals drew 2,586, besting that round’s record set the year prior.

Football remains the most-attended MHSAA Tournament sport and drew 381,396 spectators, the highest total since 2016-17 and an increase of 28 percent over 2021-22 Boys basketball attendance was next highest with 292,213 fans, an increase of five percent from 2021-22, and girls basketball ranked third and first among girls sports with 144,872 spectators – an increase of 2.4 percent from the previous season. Volleyball, the fourth highest-attended tournament series, missed its 2021-22 total by only 20 spectators, drawing 113,552.

Several more MHSAA Tournaments enjoyed attendance increases in 2022-23 over the previous year. Both individual and team wrestling series continued upward trends – the Individual Wrestling Tournament drew 44,767, its most since 2016-17 and an increase of 6.8 percent over 2021-22; and the Team Wrestling Tournament counted 37,018 spectators, its highest since the record turnout of 1999-2000 and an increase of 14.2 percent over the previous year. Track & field, with girls and boys meets conducted simultaneously, missed its record attendance of 2020-21 by just 41 spectators, improving five percent from 2021-22 with a total of 39,694.

Five more sports also enjoyed impressive overall attendance increases. Competitive cheer attendance was up 21 percent to 26,195 fans, and overall ice hockey attendance was up 19 percent to 56,168. Boys lacrosse was up 8.2 percent to 17,040, and girls lacrosse attendance rose 7.3 percent to 5,290 fans. Girls gymnastics was up 2.3 percent to 2,081 spectators.

The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.4 million spectators each year.