This was a pretty solid year for them. According to Nielsen, this was the most-watched NCAA tourney in 19 years. Other sources, depending how they break it down, say most-watched in 23-years. Most watched Final Four in 8-years. You had huge fan bases involved deep into the tourney.
The attendance issue is something that I think they have been working to maximize the last 5-10 years. It is why you nearly always see sites in North Carolina. (Duke/Carolina fill it up)
I think you will continue to see them use anchor schools as much as possible even if they need to finaggle the brackets slightly. Use big venues like Indianapolis (where they can slide anchors Indiana, Louisville and/or UK) for huge crowds.
They put 35k+ in there for Friday and Sunday in I believe the $100-$125 range for the weekend. That is a cool sum. Add programs, parking, memorabilia, concessions/beer etc. They made a mint. Likewise, they put 40k+ in Dallas on Friday night for KU/Michigan with KU being an anchor school. 35k on Sunday even though not that many showed as KU was done but they bought the ticket package. Again $100-$125 and all the extras.
They sold out DC with Syracuse and even put 18k+ in LA which shocked me. But Arizona was there to produce that. The 1st two rounds in Dayton were full due to OSU and Indiana although a smaller venue of only 12.5k. KU filled up KC for 18.5k. Duke helped put 20k in Philly. They even sold nearly 15k for Austin which was just Miami and Florida.
I have heard they made an absolute mint in Indy from someone who works with several of the Colts vendors. I imagine it was similar in Dallas and obviously always is for the Final Four.
I think the key to the tourney is having the anchors (big fan bases, big TV #s and attendance) on the top 1-2 lines. UK, KU, Louisville, Duke, UNC, Syracuse, Indiana, MSU and even someone like Arizona for the west coast. Really large schools with tons of alumns that jump on their schools bandqagon help as well to push TV ratings north.
I haven't heard too much as of late from Indy of letting the top seeds play on their home court to draw massive crowds and drive the ticket prices up even more.