Preseason Thoughts: Attendance and Fan Engagement

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In this week’s preseason article, I want to tackle the topic of attendance.  It has improved the last two years at Virginia Tech, but will the Hokies ever get back to selling out Lane Stadium every game like they did from the UVA game in 1998 through the end of the 2012 season?

I’ve thought about attendance a lot over the past few years, and I’ve generally only thought about it from a football perspective.  But attendance has declined at Virginia Tech basketball games as well, even with Buzz Williams as Virginia Tech’s head coach.  Take a look at these year-by-year attendance numbers, all from Virginia Tech media guides:

2008-09: 9,414
2009-10: 9,272
2010-11: 8,932
2011-12: 8,395 (Greenberg’s last year)
2012-13: 6,202 (James Johnson’s first year)
2013-14: 4,812
2014-15: 5,744 (Buzz’s first year)
2015-16: 6,658
2016-17: 7,476
2017-18: 7,678 (calculated from box scores)

Attendance had been dropping for a while, but the Hokies were still drawing over 8,000 fans per game in Seth Greenberg’s last season.  At that point the Hokies hadn’t made the NCAA Tournament in five years.  In 2017-18, which turned out to be Buzz’s second NCAA Tournament in a row, the Hokies drew fewer fans than they did in Greenberg’s last season, which was