SBD/October 31, 2013/Colleges

ACC Football Attendance Continues To Decline, With Smallest Crowds Since '04

Virginia Tech's 93-game sellout streak at Lane Stadium ended at last month's opener
ACC football stadiums have been less than 85% full this season, which is the "smallest number since the league expanded in 2004, and that's despite having three teams in the top 10 in the rankings," according to Joedy McCreary of the AP. Attendance in the ACC has been "declining every year" since '07, when the stadiums were 93% full. The ACC "can expect a couple of sellouts in instate rivalry games this weekend: No. 3 Florida State hosts No. 7 Miami, and North Carolina visits N.C. State." But those appear to "be the exceptions to the general trend of empty seats." Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe said, "There's a lot of tickets sold now, but I guess a lot of people stay in parking lots." McCreary noted having so many games available on TV also "makes it tough to attract big crowds to the stadium." UNC Senior Associate AD Rick Steinbacher said the challenge is to "try to make that in-stadium experience as unique and as special and as exciting as it can possibly be so it's harder to choose to stay home than come to the game." The attendance decline is "a little more noticeable" for Virginia Tech, whose 93-game sellout streak at Lane Stadium "ended last month when there were some 4,000 empty seats for their home opener against Western Carolina." VT is "drawing about 2,000 fewer fans per home game." Duke is seeing the "biggest drop in the league," with attendance down 14.5%. Still, there have been "some success stories." Maryland is drawing "nearly 5,000 more fans per game in its final season in the ACC." Miami also has "pulled in nearly 10,000 more fans per game" (AP, 10/30).
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