Brian: This according to the NCAA, who released their Division I average men’s basketball attendance figures earlier this week. The Eagles brought in a total attendance figure of 90,394 for their 17 home games for an average crowd of 5,317 per night.
Here’s how Boston College stacks up against other ACC programs:
5. North Carolina (17,786)
7. Maryland (16,792)
24. N.C. State (13,184)
32. Wake Forest (11,833)
43. Virginia (10,141)
49. Clemson (9,465)
53. Duke (9,314)
55. Virginia Tech (9,272)
65. Georgia Tech (7,979)
70. Florida State (7,336)
101. Boston College (5,317)
114. Miami (FL) (4,713)
As you can see, BC comes in 11th in the conference. If not for Miami, BC would have been dead last in conference attendance last season. BC’s average of 5,317 is down an average of 231 fans from last year’s mark of 5,548. Certainly this isn’t an encouraging trend. With Donahue taking the helm next season, can we expect a boost in attendance? Or will be blogging about even more dismal attendance figures next season?
Jeff: With Donahue taking the helm this season, BC's men's basketball attendance will change significantly. If we win some games with a new style of play, the fans will quickly come back and fill a lot of seats at Conte Forum. If Donahue and the team get off to a rough start though, and Miami has a decent season or some good home matchups, BC will struggle to hold onto the number 11 spot in conference attendance next season.
This move has the potential to be more controversial than any of the football coaching moves because with the changeover at head coach came a lot of player turnover. If Ws are not recorded, a good percentage of the fan base will voice their displeasure with Skinner being let go even though, as you and I know, some of those same people were calling for Skinner's job at points last year. If Donahue has a decent record this season, because he'll be using a more exciting style of play to win games, more fans will come and they'll have high expectations for the coming seasons as well.
The best case scenario is not what we should be talking about here though. The point is that things could get a lot worse even though we already thought attendance was awful.
Brian: Whether you agree with this or not, the men's basketball attendance issue is clearly one of the reasons that DeFilippo parted ways with Skinner after this season. How much of basketball attendance is determined by scheduling and ticket policies versus the product that the coach puts on the floor is unclear. What is clear is that DeFilippo felt that Skinner contributed to the general decline in attendance and fan interest in the program.
Here are even more sobering numbers. Of the 73 teams in the six power conferences (Big East, ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac 10), BC finished in the bottom 10 percent in terms of attendance:
89. Oregon State (6,084)
101. Boston College (5,317)
105. Rutgers (5,236)
107. Northwestern (5,089)
108. Southern California (5,016)
110. South Fla. (4,884)
114. Miami (FL) (74,411)
Not only did BC get outdrawn by 90 percent of the power conference schools, but they were also outdrawn by such basketball powerhouses as Fresno St. (7,767), Missouri St. (6,645), Illinois St. (6,561), Hawaii (5,667) and UCF (5,441).
Now I understand that these figures have a lot to do with arena capacity (Note: Duke is ranked only 53rd with an average of 9,314, a Cameron Indoor sell out) and that year's schedule of home games, but to be honest, it's a good thing Conte Forum doesn't seat more fans these days.
I think you've hit the nail on the head though. To me, the men's basketball attendance issue has the almost certain possibility of getting (much) worse before it gets better.