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Final Hokie Attendance Figures Compared with the Previous 15 Years

Virginia Tech’s 53rd season in Cassell Coliseum is complete.  But this season was unique in many negative ways.

  • Tech had a losing record at home for just the 2nd time in the history of the Cassell, joining the 2000-01 Hokies (stokes).
  • The Hokies went 1-8 in conference play, marking the first time since the 1992-93 season that Tech won just a single home conference game.  The Hokies went 1-5 that season at home in the Metro Conference in Bill Foster’s 2nd year.  Obviously this year sets a new mark for conference losses at home since Tech has been in the Cassell (and I believe ever — the horrible teams of the mid-1950s didn’t play enough conference games to lose 8).
  • Tech averaged just 4,812 at the game per game this season:
    • Reflects a 22% drop in average attendance per game from a year ago (6,202 per) and a 43% drop from two years ago, Seth’s final year.
    • This was VT’s lowest mark since averaging 4,211 per game back in 2002-03, ricky “program bomb” stokes’s final season at the helm.
  • The Hokies drew just 4,985 fans per ACC contest this year:
    • Down 18% from a year ago
    • Represents a 47% drop from two years ago, Seth’s swan song
    • This was Tech’s lowest average crowd per conference home game since the 2002-03 season when Tech was still in the Big East (4,259 per Big East game)
Season   Home Games   Avg Attendance   Avg Att Per Conf Home Game   Sellouts   Conference/ Coach
2013-14 18 4,812 4,985 0 ACC – JJ
2012-13 17 6,202 6,046 0 ACC – JJ
2011-12 18 8,395 9,362 4 ACC – Seth
2010-11 16 8,932 9,574 10 ACC – Seth
2009-10 19 9,272 9,844 7 ACC – Seth
2008-09 16 9,414 9,847 14 ACC – Seth
2007-08 17 9,815 9,847 14 ACC – Seth
2006-07 15 9,822 9,800 14 ACC – Seth
2005-06 17 9,763 9,846 13 ACC – Seth
2004-05 16 9,406 9,847 11 ACC – Seth
2003-04 15 6,342 7,044 0 Big East – Seth
2002-03 15 4,211 4,259 0 Big East – stokes
2001-02 15 3,501 3,778 0 Big East – stokes
2000-01 15 4,508 5,244 1 Big East – stokes
1999-00 13 4,042 3,855 0 A10 – stokes
1998-99 14 4,040 4,249 0 A10 – Hussey


Smart money would say that if the Hokies stand pat this offseason, attendance will drop even lower next year in terms of season ticket sales (3,400 this year).  So how can the Hokies turn their fading attendance figures around?  Easy — win.  Going 1-8 at home in the conference does not endear yourself to the local fans.  Who wants to make the effort to go to the game or fork over money when there is an 89% chance you are going to lose?  The die hards will, but that’s about it.

While better weekend conference tilts would help (like not having uva on a Tuesday night at 9 PM), that isn’t everything.  Even unc on a Saturday afternoon could only draw 6,500, and trust me when I say many of them were in sissy powder blue.

Other things that I believe would help (and should happen just because it is the right thing to do) are ringing the students around the sideline on one side, not just sticking them behind one baseline; and finding ways to reward the fans that attend more (i.e. the locals, not just giving the best seats to the biggest donors who hardly ever show).  While both ideas might tick off people that have those good seats now, let’s face facts — we only have 3,400 season ticket holders and that likely will drop again next year.  So why not fix things now when the Cassell is largely empty and build it up from square one?

Ultimately, it is W’s that matter.  If you win with Whit, they will come.

Other Notes:

Things are bad, but it didn’t take long while crunching numbers from the ricky stokes days to see that at least it isn’t that bad (yet).  Here are a few stokies:

  • The Hokies drew just 3,855 fans per game in 1999-2000, their final season in the A10 and stokes’s first season at VT.
  • Tech’s inaugural Big East game drew just 5,600 fans vs villanova.  Note that in the Hokies’ first 6 years in the ACC, they sold all but 400 of their ACC game tickets.
  • After going 2-14 in the Big East in their inaugural season, the Hokies drew just 3,501 fans per game in 2001-02, including just 3,778 per Big East game.
  • Virginia Tech’s home game vs mt. st. mary’s during the 2001-02 season drew just 1,121 fans.
  • stokes’s final home game, a conference game no less, drew just 3,020 vs miami.

This post was written by:

- who has written 1284 posts on Tech Hoops.

Niemo is a member of the VT Class of '98. While not a professional journalist by any stretch, Niemo analyzes and breaks down every minute of Hokie hoop action. He also researches topics of interest such as Hokie recruits, program revenue, statistical data on the team, previews VT opponents, and discusses his favorite bourbons/Scotches. In addition to his passion for Hokie hoops, Niemo has attended 126 straight VT football home games (every game since '94), eclipsing the 100 mark in September of '09 and recently attended his 20th consecutive VT/uva game. During the final home basketball game of his senior year, he was brought onto the court and was awarded 2 passes to the Atlantic 10 Basketball Tournament in Philly during a timeout for being a "Super Fan" during his time at VT. The Hokie Bird made the award on behalf of Athletic Director Jim Weaver. Niemo was known to be in the front row of every home game with his familiar red afro hairdo.

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17 Responses to “Final Hokie Attendance Figures Compared with the Previous 15 Years”

  1. Blue Collar Hokie says:

    like you say its all about winning. i consider myself one of those diehards and i havent made it to a game since clemson last year. i’m about 2 hours up 81 and its tough to talk anyone into making the trip and spending money when it’s almost a guaranteed loss.

    • Niemo says:

      You make a good point – even when we can motivate ourselves to go, it is extremely hard to find anyone else that wants to make the trip if it is multiple hours away.

      • 69Hokie says:

        I’m in Roanoke, and regrettably I have made NO effort to get to a game this season. The players are doing the best they can, and I like the young guys. JJ was dealt a very bad hand, so it isn’t all his fault. Hopefully WB will do whatever is necessary to right the ship, even if it means breaking the bank.

  2. HBHokieSurfer says:

    The only way to draw fans is to get a real coach. JJ is a joke and now are program is also. Time to make another run at Shaka Smart and get this ship turned around.

    • Niemo says:

      Shaka asked for more than Beamer makes. That’s not going to work. We need to hope his price drops, or find another coach with similar upside that is more reasonably priced.

      • HBHokieSurfer says:

        Where did you get your numbers on Shaka? Currently and for the past few years Beamer has a $2.5 million/year contract before bonuses. Shaka signed an extension that increased his salary from $1.2 million/year to $1.5 million/year before bonuses. If he was asking for over $2.5 million then why would he short change himself and sign for 60% of what he feels he’s worth. That just doesn’t make any sense.

        • Niemo says:

          I have my sources :-) And that’s what I was told. My assumption was he didn’t really want to move (although Billy Donovan of florida encouraged him to) and so threw out a $$$ so high he knew we either wouldn’t, or if we did, he’d be happy taking it.

  3. Mark says:

    I won’t call JJ a joke. It’s not his fault. Almost any career assistant (no major head coaching experience) would have jumped at a job offer to be the head guy in the ACC. You don’t hear many replies when offered a once in a lifetime opportunity like, “It wouldn’t be such a good fight. I’m just a ham-n-egger.”

    The blame is totally Weavers. It appears (to me at least) that Weaver unprofessionally made an emotional decision to dismiss Greenberg without even a semblance of a plan to replace him. One can debate whether it was the correct decision to dismiss Greenberg or not at that time; however, don’t debate it through the prism of the last two years. Prior to his dismissal the program had finished last in the ACC during Greenberg’s final year and he had made only one NCAA tournament during his entire tenure, 2007, I think. The program had peaked. It was clearly on the way down. It had gone as far as Greenberg was probably going to take it; one NCAA in what 9 years?

    Was JJ the correct hire, probably not. If your reason for dismissing Greenberg was that the program needed to advance to the “next” level than clearly not. JJ’s resume gave no indication that he was ready for such a task. However, if the reasons for dismissing Greenberg were otherwise, and there’s been lot’s of speculation about their relationship and Greenberg’s conduct; then the timing of the dismissal and the failure to implement or have any plan for his replacement in place was professionally inexcusable.

    I don’t blame JJ for taking the job. I blame Weaver.

    • Niemo says:

      Mark – Agree 100%. I like JJ. He had to take the job. But now it is time for Whit to put on the big boy pants and make the next decision, and that’s to move on with a plan (though I bet he waits another year).
      And it was probably time for Seth to go (1 NCAA in 10 years is inexcusable to me, so I’d have given him max 1 more year than he got (9)). But the handling was a disaster based on timing most of all.

    • HBHokieSurfer says:

      I also agree with you, any career assistant would have taken the job and the real fault of this downward spiraling program is Weaver.

    • Chris says:

      I disagree that the program was on its way down. The year before Greenberg’s last year, we lost 4 of our best starters, at the time, to graduation (Delaney, Allen, Zo Hudson, and T-Bell). Any team is going to take a hit after losing all of those seniors. Greenberg had a couple of big recruits coming in and his team was young. They would have been better the next year. He deserved another shot to turn it around. He basically turned an irrelevant VA Tech Basketball program into a pretty decent and competitive program. Would he have taken us to the next level, who knows? Were we much, much better when he took over, absolutely……I do agree that not having a plan was a huge mistake. How can you fire someone without having an idea that his replacement would be better?

  4. deathrow821 says:

    After going to Chalk Talk last week and talking to the assistants before it started for about 15 minutes I can say that I now have more confidence in the coaching staff than I had before. We have looked so much better in the last month and that’s something to build on. Our record is right where I expected it, but the team is improving and I think that buys you another year.

    The main problem for Whit, and I know this shouldn’t be considered but Weaver showed us it is when he fired Greenberg, is that JJ is an incredibly nice guy. He is very approachable and just an all around good person. It’s tough for anyone in any business to let someone like that go.

    • HBHokieSurfer says:

      You expected our team to lose 16 out of the last 18 games? Anyone who thinks this is acceptable is disillusion. James Johnson May be a nice guy but that is irrelevant when you have a record that is 21-38 and have lost 16 of your last 18. Time for a change before JJ sets us back another 4 years.

      • Drew says:

        Agreed. He has to go. Anyone that thinks he should stay is doing it solely on “hope” at this point and not anything substantial. He has done nothing in 2 years that shows he has any clue how to be a HC or have a direction for the program. This “we’ve been better” the last month stuff has more to do with what our opponents aren’t doing than what we’re doing right. He may get another year just because ADs usually don’t fire coaches with short tenures, but he hasn’t earned it. Like it was said in the other comments, he never should have been hired in the first place. Wipe your hands clean of Weaver’s mess and start fresh.

  5. King says:

    When did Tech move the students from the sidelines to behind the basket? Also, when did Tech start leveraging basketball ticket sales with football season ticket sales? Those were two really bad decisions that should be reversed. I think it’s a big reason why Tech has no home court advantage, aside from the fact that we stink.


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