BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Just seven months after its grand opening, the new Cross Insurance Center seems to be packing in the crowds. Attendance there is on the rise across the board for the various events that take place inside the new arena.
"Anytime you make a major change in a venue there's certainly some unknowns, but I think what we found was that we were able to embrace the greater-Bangor community," said University of Maine Athletic Director Karlton Creech.
Creech says the Cross Insurance Center is one of the best arenas in the American East Conference. Between the two basketball teams, more than 35,000 people got to experience it throughout the season.
"There's a mix of paid attendance, certainly students come and staff and families of players so it's a mix but we count people through the gate," said Creech.
The women's program, which had one of the best turn-around seasons in college basketball, averaged just over 1,400 fans per home game this season. That number is up almost 28% from last year.
"Our women's program's philosophy on fan interaction and Coach Barron's willingness to speak to the crowd after the game, to invite people onto the court, invite young children onto the court after the game is a big part of community engagement and that team is certainly doing a great job with that," said the Athletic Director.
While the men's team only won six games this season, attendance was still up for them as well.
But this increase in attendance reaches far more than just the basketball games. Expos like the home and garden shows saw a spike in spectators as well. The garden show was up 20%.
"The greater attendance means the better chance at customers. They're able to see more things, get more ideas and get thinking about spending some money," said Justin Difrederico, General Manager of Granville Stone and Hearth in Holden.
Which is good for business in the area. He says this increase is more than just a honeymoon stage for the new arena
"The venue that it is it gives us some more room for expansion. There's a lot that that venue offers to an expo that we can utilize for future events," said Difrederico.