Miami University’s basketball team hosts the largest crowd since 1999


Photo provided by Miami Athletics

Senior forward Precious Ayah (#5 in white jersey) says the fans help spur players on to stronger performances.

By Sam Belkowitz

In 2020, an average of 1,500 spectators, including 500 students, attended Miami University men’s basketball games, according to the NCAA records. If the Dec. 1 game against the University of Cincinnati is any indication, this year’s turnout could be considerably better. 

Although the team expects low attendance for games on inconvenient dates, such as Jan. 1, the UC game at Millett Hall was huge.

 “Jan. 1 is not going to be a driver for us, but what is? That Dec. 1 game against Cincinnati… that Cincinnati game is really, really big for our basketball program,” said Jake Shields, the manager of ticket sales for Miami’s athletic events.

Wednesday was the first time the two teams had played each other in more than 10 years.  Although the RedHawks lost by the heartbreaking score of 59-58, there were 7,285 fans in the seats, the biggest basketball crowd at Millett since Miami played Ball State in 1999, according to the university.

To pull fans into the seats, the Miami sports marketing department will have promotions for spectators throughout the season. Water bottles, hats and other reusable giveaways have boosted attendance in the past, according to Shields. Similar giveaways will likely occur this season. It is hoped such promotions will encourage attendance, particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic prevented spectators from attending games last season, he said.

The RedHawks, now 5-2 overall, are expected to excel within the Mid-American Conference this season. “We should be one of the best teams in the conference,” said Cowan Olinger, director of operations for the men’s basketball team. Last season was the team’s first winning season in 12 years, and all five starting players from last season are on the team this season. 

“For fans to be in the stands, it means a lot of support. The players really appreciate it, the players feel supported and we get a little bit of extra boost when we play. It’s encouraging to see that people love what we do and want to see us play,” said Precious Ayah, a senior forward on the team. Strong attendance motivates the players and helps with their performance, he said. 

Ayah is starting his sixth season at Miami and played in all 23 games last season, according to the Miami RedHawks website.

The ticket office has many deals for ticket purchases. Individual tickets for men’s games cost $8 at the door for youth and $18 at the door for people older than 12-years-old, according to Shields. Adult tickets purchased online are discounted at $15. Individual tickets are $10 for groups of at least 20 people. 

Season passes are available for $250 and allow entry to each regular-season home game. Season pass holders account for approximately 65% of ticket sales, according to Shields. Miami faculty members can purchase season tickets for up to $40 off.

Tickets can be purchased online or at the door. Tickets can also be purchased by emailing or calling the ticket office in Millet Hall. Miami students are admitted at no cost, according to Shields.

Tickets can be purchased by calling (513) 529-4295, emailing [email protected] or visiting