ACC Football Attendance Analysis

Fan attendance is a discussion topic and is often seen as a reflection of fan support and program success.  Today we will look at attendance figures along with several other items among schools in the ACC in 2010.  Overall enrollment numbers and stadium data for ACC teams were attained from Wikipedia here and the average attendance numbers from the NCAA here.  I believe the enrollment numbers include graduate students so they may look a little higher than one would expect.  The overall information for ACC schools can be seen in Table I below and graphical representations shown in subsequent figures.

 

Table I:  Basic Institutional Information

School

Location

Student Enrollment

Home Games

Total Attendance

Average Attendance

Avg. Attendance per Student

Stadium Capacity

Average Percent of Capacity

Boston College

Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts

14,640

7

268,585

38,369

2.62

44,500

86.2%

Clemson

Clemson, South Carolina

19,453

7

542,280

77,469

3.98

80,301

96.5%

Duke

Durham, North Carolina

14,248

7

201,248

28,750

2.02

33,941

84.7%

Florida St.

Tallahassee, Florida

40,838

7

498,890

71,270

1.75

82,300

86.6%

Georgia Tech

Atlanta, Georgia

20,487

6

278,696

46,449

2.27

55,000

84.5%

Maryland

College Park, Maryland

37,641

6

235,007

39,168

1.04

54,000

72.5%

Miami (Fl)

Coral Gables, Florida

15,657

6

315,452

52,575

3.36

76,500

68.7%

North Carolina

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

29,340

6

349,500

58,250

1.99

60,000

97.1%

North Carolina St.

Raleigh, North Carolina

33,879

6

341,261

56,877

1.68

60,000

94.8%

Virginia

Charlottesville, Virginia

20,895

7

318,212

45,459

2.18

61,500

73.9%

Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, Virginia

30,379

7

463,631

66,233

2.18

66,233

100.0%

Wake Forest

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

7,079

6

182,843

30,474

4.30

31,500

96.7%

Non-Clemson Average

--

24,098

6

313,939

48,534

2.01

56,861

85.4%

In terms of enrollment numbers, all schools but Boston College, Duke, Miami, and Wake have more students than Clemson (19,453 in 2010).  Clemson trailed the non-CU league average (24,098) by just over 4500 students.  I will note that GT had just over 1000 more students than Clemson.  The league stats are shown below in Figure 1.

Acc_student_enrollment_medium

Figure 1:  Enrollment Numbers by School

Clemson led the ACC in attendance last season, averaging 77,469 fans per game during the seven game home schedule.  FSU was second in attendance with a 71,270 and VTech averaged over 66,000 per game.  No other ACC school averaged over 60K per game.  These items are shown below in Figure 2. 

Figure 3 shows the listed stadium capacity for each ACC school.  FSU's Doak Campbell Stadium is listed as the largest in the ACC at 82,300.  Death Valley, after the renovations and WEZ project, is listed at a capacity of over 80,300.  Miami's Pro Player Stadium (or whatever they call it now) can hold 76,000 folks and Virginia tech seats around 66,000.

Acc_avg_football_attendance_medium

Figure 2:  Football Attendance by School

Acc_avg_stadium_capacity_medium

Figure 3:  Football Stadium Capacity

 

 

We show the average percent of capacity for all ACC teams below in Figure 4.  You will notice that VT has perfect attendance while Clemson scored a very respectable 96.5% in this category.  I will admit, I was a little shocked that some of these teams scored as high as they did in this category.  Duke, an obvious one, did bring in extra seating for the Bama game for an attendance of nearly 40,000 fans.  Miami was the anchor of this category with under 69% capacity for its home games (which, just by television pictures, is a lot higher than I expected).

Acc_percent_capacity_medium

Figure 4:  Percent Capacity (Attendance)

The final graph we will show illustrates attendance per enrolled student.  This is a quirky statistic that takes some interpretation.  At face value it shows programs that are able to attract patrons not attending the university.  This can be interpreted as attracting both former alumni as well as people who never attended the university to come out and enjoy a game. 

The student body size in comparison to the stadium size is a major drawback to this metric.  Also, not all schools have generous student ticket policies (like Clemson).  Many schools out there do not include football tix in activities fees and may only distribute home tickets through a lottery system.  I am not familiar with all ACC policies, so this description is pretty generic.  I will also add that I was not able to find statistics regarding actual student attendance for all schools involved in this survey.

 

Acc_avg_attendance_per_student_medium

Figure 5:  Attendance per Enrolled Student

Overall, if anyone complains about Clemson's fan participation in relation to other ACC schools they are just stupid.  Clemson, at 6-7, led the league in attendance.  Clemson had a better turnout than future National Champion ACC Champion Florida State.  There is no support problem in Pickens County. 

I will say that having a larger alumni base should make it easier to fill a stadium...just saying.  I will also say proximity to higher population centers also fill stadiums quicker. Clemson has a relatively small student body and is not exactly located in a metropolis yet still attracts a large number of fans (some former alumni, some not) who are willing to drive a couple hours to catch a football game seven times a year.

Further, Clemson's large attendance to enrollment ratio is impressive.  We discussed the shortcomings of this metric earlier, so I won't revisit that.  We do note that when you have a 30K stadium, it's one thing.  When your stadium is the third largest population center in the state, it's another.  Clemson has a pretty small student population and brings in lots of fans despite the lack of alumni base other schools enjoy.  If a Clemson coach ever questions fan support, he/she should be punched in the face.

 

Well, apparently somebody from Tennessee started talking trash about Clemson fans and this was Mr. Coleman's reaction:

Duane-coleman-being-awesome_o_gifsoup

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