After a year went by without the College World Series, fan attendance hasn’t missed a step.
The 2021 series has had an average of 22,396 per game through Monday's game, the highest since 2013. Through 14 sessions, that brings the total to 313,537.
With the CWS championship series going to a third game, the total attendance record is likely to be broken. That number, 357,646, was set in 2017 over 16 games.
Part of the increase in attendance may be credited to the success of Mississippi State. The Bulldogs own 18 of the top 19 single-game on-campus attendance marks this season, and the fans have brought that to Omaha.
Games involving Mississippi State average an attendance of 23,325. Fans even crowded the Bulldogs’ hotel after a win over Virginia.
This is a continuing trend from this postseason.
The Bulldogs brought in 14,385 for the opening game of the super regionals against Notre Dame, setting an all-time super regional record. They then took second on that list the next day.
Mississippi State coach Chris Lemonis has continually recognized the fanbase throughout the tournament, and said it has prepared the team for the stage at TD Ameritrade Park.
“In our environment that we play in all the time, as great as our fan base, as great as our stadium, there's a lot of pressure being a Mississippi State baseball player,” he said. “I think our kids have to deal with that all year long. And getting here there is that piece of it, but I think our kids are pretty used to it.”
The only other year to bring in higher average attendance was 2013, when an average of 24,392 flooded the park.
Of course, such large crowds also bring health concern during a pandemic. After NC State was eliminated due to COVID-19 issues, Mississippi State changed its route into the hotel to limit contact with fans and keep players safe.
“It's really hard for us because we have an unbelievable fan base,” Lemonis said. “The first couple nights we came to our lobby, thousands of people, it's the best part of winning a game out here. Unfortunately last night we just kind of went around the back so it's less contact.”