PUEBLO, Colo. ― For the fourth time in six events, record crowds flocked to see the world's toughest cowboys compete against the country's fiercest bulls on the 2013 Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough Series. This weekend's three-day BFTS event at Anaheim's Honda Center, the LiftMaster Invitational, drew 30,000 fans, easily surpassing previous Southern California attendance numbers.
The 2013 BFTS season kicked off at Madison Square Garden Jan. 4-6, before 43,000 fans, including a capacity crowd of 16,000 on Saturday evening as it aired on CBS Sports Network. It was the seventh consecutive year that the country's premier bull riding circuit competed in the World's Most Famous Arena.
After a one-year break, the PBR's return to Chicago's Allstate Arena attracted 17,300 fans over the two-day event, a marked increase over its 2011 performance.
Last week's stop at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif., and this weekend's event in Anaheim, Calif., entertained the largest crowds in their respective cities' PBR history.
These records also are notable for having occurred in less-than-traditional Western-lifestyle markets.
"To break an attendance record in Oklahoma or Texas is very satisfying, but to do it in more mainstream markets like New York and Southern California means even greater exposure for our athletes ― the bulls and the bull riders ― and our sponsor partners," PBR Chairman and CEO Jim Haworth said.
Historically, more than 2.5 million fans attend PBR live events each year.
The PBR Build Ford Tough Series visits 26 cities in 18 states this season, including arenas in St. Louis, Kansas City, Mo., Oakland, Calif., and Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The series culminates in the PBR World Finals in Las Vegas, Oct. 23-27, at UNLV's Thomas & Mack Center where the 2013 PBR World Champion will be crowned and awarded a $1 million bonus and the coveted PBR World Champion buckle.
2013 marks the 20th anniversary of the PBR, which features the world's Top 35 bull riders and the fiercest bucking bulls in the country. The BFTS is broadcast weekly in primetime on CBS and CBS Sports Network.
© 2013 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.