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Vaught’s note: Louisville coach Rick Pitino participated in a Final Four teleconference today. One media member asked him if he understood how “feverish” the Louisville fan base was when he took the job there? Let me know what you think of his answer.
Q. You see the numbers about how Louisville is the top rated basketball market TV wise. Before you took over the program, were you aware of how feverish the fan base was?
COACH PITINO: It always picks up when you’re winning. According to Forbes magazine, nine years in a row now we’ve been the number one revenue producer in college basketball. As a matter of fact, we made $44 million, which was more than the Green Bay Packers and $15 million more than our second place finisher, North Carolina.
So basketball in our state, a small state, we are in the top three in attendance every year. Kentucky is always one or two, then Syracuse. There’s states like Kentucky, Indiana, Kansas, that are so much into basketball. We don’t have professional sports, so we are the professional team. The fervor is incredible. We must have had 20,000 Louisville fans there yesterday.
It means an awful lot to them because we do not have professional sports. If the Jets are doing poorly, you go to the Giants. If the Mets are doing poorly, you go to the Yankees. Or you pick up hockey.
It’s picked up now with back to back Final Fours, Kentucky winning the national championship last year. It means a lot in our state.