You're missing the point. The reason they aren't ending up in the hands of someone who will use them is because those people don't exist. You ABSOLUTELY can show up and buy a ticket for $5 or $10 from somebody out in front of the arena. If you're a student or university employee I think you can queue up and get in for free w/o a ticket most nights (you just have to move if somebody shows up and claims the seat you've taken). I have stood outside of Cassell with extra tickets many times and been unable to give them away.
When you see empty seats in there, it's almost never due to an inefficiency in ticket distribution. It's due to a total absence of demand for the tickets. I'm sure it's possible they could sell more one-off tickets to locals if they had deeply discounted prices, but honestly I can't imagine that there's an untapped fanbase in the area that is: a) dying to go see VT basketball, yet b) totally unaware that they can already get in dirt cheap.
If we don't start winning and making NCAA tournaments, we will never sell tickets. That's all there is to it.
I think that's pretty much true. People want to watch a winner. I think there are things that could be changed about ticketing that might help a little, but the lion's share of empty seats are there because there just isn't much demand for them.
if you're high enough in points to have really good seats, there's value in knowing you've got them locked up for the year.
Very true, but that only includes about 2k fans/seats. Also there is less demand for really good seats when there is less demand for season tickets in general. For example, if we we sell out our season tickets, or even sell 5k season tickets there is definitely value in renewing and getting locked in to great seats. But if we only sell 2-3k season tickets what value is there in your seats when any average Joe could come up off the street and buy a season ticket right next to you.
You have to sell to the fans who can't afford to be high-up in the Hokie Club for those seats/members to even matter.