Jeff: As we well know, BC has been blamed in the past for attendance issues at the ACC Football Championship. The Eagles have also been pointed at for soft ticket sales at the ACC basketball tournaments since joining the league. Why BC gets mentioned and Miami doesn't I'll never know, but now BC is getting blamed for poor ticket sales at the ACC Tournament before the games even began:
"During the regular season, North Carolina averaged 1,401 at its home games in Chapel Hill.
In Chestnut Hill, meanwhile, Boston College drew more than 1,401 at home just twice: 1,432 for a Sunday doubleheader against Florida State and the season finale against Georgia Tech. The Eagles drew fewer than 700 in 16 of their 24 home games; 48 fans turned out at their game against nearby Northeastern on March 31."
Simply by qualifying and knocking out a North Carolina school from the running, BC is to blame once again. Will BC ever NOT be to blame for the ACC's ticket sales issues, regardless of sport?
Brian: Any time a city hosts for the first time and the local teams don’t qualify for the tournament or championship game, it’s all too easy for lazy sports writers to pick off the low hanging fruit.
Home attendance problems ...
Black sheep, Northern school ...
New to this whole college baseball thing ...
Only qualified for one other ACC Baseball Championship ...
If you really want someone to blame, blame North Carolina for waiting too late into the season to make a push and start winning games. Blame Georgia Tech for losing the regular season finale to BC, sending the Eagles instead of the Heels to the Championship. Hell, blame Virginia Tech, who, while relatively local, has about as much baseball history and prestige as BC does.
Or, if you are above simple finger-pointing, signaling out individual programs, maybe sports writers should take a look at the economics of the ACC Baseball Championship. Have you seen the prices for this Championship? $130 for a full 13 game package? That seems a little steep for a college baseball tournament. College baseball isn’t nearly as popular as ACC football or even the ACC Basketball tournament. Perhaps they should consider pricing Championship tickets more in line with the demand for tickets / the sport's popularity. Your thoughts?
Jeff: Even mentioning football and basketball when talking about the ACC Baseball Championship prices is comical. I think maybe $100 for a 13 game book and $10 for individual games might get a few more butts in seats, but it won't make a huge impact. Sites like Durham and Greensboro aren't going to draw huge crowds without Duke and/or UNC. It's that simple. If the Championship were held in South Carolina or Atlanta, Clemson fans would pack the stadium, but only for Clemson games. There is just not enough demand for college baseball for people to take off work and travel to weekday daytime games that are not for the title.
College baseball is a sport growing in attendance in Boston and at many schools but they still have a long way to go to regularly sell out conference tournament games featuring teams other than the local college.
Brian: The tournament organizers did everything they could to limit any damage BC could do to attendance by putting them in the noon game every day. Don’t think for a second an eighth seeded North Carolina team would have been scheduled to play in three straight noon games. You would have seen the Heels playing in the night game or late afternoon, possibly all three nights.
The Greensboro tournament organizers had to consider, however unlikely, that three of four local programs wouldn't make the tournament. College baseball is still very much a niche sport and like you said, only the diehard fans or parents are going to drop over $100 on tickets, not to mention travel and hotel costs to watch a week full of college baseball. Finally, even the fans of local teams from North and South Carolina are probably attending in decreased numbers this year given the economy. That was the reason cited for moving this year's Championship from Fenway Park to NewBridge Bank Park, so it's not like economic concerns weren't top of mind for league officials.
The irony in all this is that the attendance for the opener between BC and Virginia was actually pretty strong. The ACC announced a crowd of 3,280 fans for the opener, which would have been the fourth biggest crowd in last year's tournament.