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ACC Attendance by the numbers

An interesting point was made by acaffrey in the comments section of his recent article regarding potential division realignment in the ACC and the ramifications of moving to a schedule with 10 conference games.

The schools that pack their stadiums need 6 or 7 home games a year.

Coincidentally, I started compiling the attendance data for ACC home games just before the end of the regular season but never got around to completing a full post. So, it was a good reminder and a perfect opportunity to look deeper at which schools can boast the best attendance.


School % Capacity Total Home Games Average: 
Clemson 99%               563,677 7                 80,525
Virginia Tech 97%               383,993 6                 63,999
Wake Forest 92%               173,542 6                 28,924
Florida State 91%               462,886 7  77,148*
North Carolina State 91%               425,420 8                 53,178
Georgia Tech 90%               347,542 7                 49,649
North Carolina 82%               319,000 7  51,400*
Syracuse 78%               229,661 6                 38,277
Duke 77%               182,431 7                 26,062
Maryland 76%               288,946 7                 41,278
Pittsburgh 76%               348,188 7                 49,741
Virginia 75%               370,234 8                 46,279
Boston College 74%               198,035 6                 33,006
Miami (FL) 71%               376,857 7                 53,837
*  Attendance information unavailable for one game

All of the information was taken from box scores available at ESPN which is based on the school’s reporting of games. Which is subject to error (as anyone who has watched a Syracuse game can attest). Also, for whatever reason the attendance for FSU/Idaho and UNC/Old Dominion were not available – anyone has that information and would like to share it I will update the table accordingly. Lastly, I’m only counting home games here. So, games played at neutral sites – even if close to the school – were not accounted for.

First, there were two schools (NC State and UVA) who had eight home games this year. Interestingly, neither team went bowling. However, give NC State fans a ton of credit. Despite having a very disappointing season, they managed to report over 90% capacity on the season.

No surprise that Clemson and Florida State have the highest gross total of attendance, with each team claiming over 500,000 in attendance (the FSU total does not include the Idaho game, but we’ll assume that at least 37,114 fans attended).

However, when you break down their opponents, you can see that neither team really had an attractive schedule.

Consider this: Clemson had the slightly more attractive schedule for fans whose 7 homes games included: 4 conference games (most notably FSU and GaTech), 2 FCS teams (really Clemson?), and 1 SEC (which more than makes up for the 2 FCS games).

Georgia                 83,830
S. Carolina St.                 81,428
Wake Forest                 80,607
Boston College                 77,506
Florida State                 83,428
Georgia Tech                 75,324
Citadel                 81,554
Average:                 80,525
Max Capacity:                 81,500
Average Capacity (%): 99%
Total:               563,677

Meanwhile, FSU also hosted 7 games and had a lackluster schedule consisting of: 1 bad MWC team, 1 FCS, 1 FBS independent/bottom dweller, and 4 conference games (most notably Miami).

Florida State
Nevada                 73,847
Bethune-Cookman                 74,841
Maryland                 74,909
NC State                 80,389
Miami                 84,409
Syracuse                 74,491
Idaho  N/A
Average:                 77,148
Max Capacity:                 84,392
Average Capacity (%): 91%
Total:               462,886

Not exactly Murderer’s Row. In fact, you could argue that the best non-conference team that FSU played was Bethune Cookman who at least made it to the first round of the Div. 1 Football Championship. Fortunately, both schools have much better schedules lining up next year, including OOC home games with Notre Dame and Florida, and South Carolina respectively.

Home attendance for the upper echelon teams should not really be an objection to a 10 conference games. If Florida State can get 74k for Bethune Cookman, and Clemson can get 81k for South Carolina State, then they could easily get that many (or possibly more) to see conference match-ups against Louisville, Pitt, or UNC for example.

Here are all of the teams’ results for your review and comments below:

Atlantic Coastal
Florida State Duke
Nevada                 73,847 N. Carolina Central                 22,521
Bethune-Cookman                 74,841 Georgia Tech                 21,267
Maryland                 74,909 Pittsburgh                 22,714
NC State                 80,389 Troy                 30,126
Miami                 84,409 Navy                 23,749
Syracuse                 74,491 NC State                 32,010
Idaho  N/A Miami                 30,044
Average:                 77,148 Average:                 26,062
Max Capacity:                 84,392 Max Capacity:                 33,941
Average Capacity (%): 91% Average Capacity (%): 77%
Total:               462,886 Total:              182,431
Clemson Georgia Tech
Georgia                 83,830 Elon                 45,759
S. Carolina St.                 81,428 North Carolina                 49,445
Wake Forest                 80,607 Virginia Tech                 50,214
Boston College                 77,506 Syracuse                 45,704
Florida State                 83,428 Pittsburgh                 52,312
Georgia Tech                 75,324 Alabama A&M                 49,194
Citadel                 81,554 Georgia                 54,914
Average:                 80,525 Average:                 49,649
Max Capacity:                 81,500 Max Capacity:                 55,000
Average Capacity (%): 99% Average Capacity (%): 90%
Total:               563,677 Total:              347,542
Boston College Virginia Tech
Villanova                 30,922 W. Carolina                 61,335
Wake Forest                 32,465 Marshall                 64,060
Florida State                 40,129 North Carolina                 65,632
Army                 33,128 Pittsburgh                 64,954
Virginia Tech                 30,129 Duke                 63,326
NC State                 31,262 Maryland                 64,686
Average:                 33,006 Average:                 63,999
Max Capacity:                 44,500 Max Capacity:                 66,233
Average Capacity (%): 74% Average Capacity (%): 97%
Total:               198,035 Total:              383,993
Syracuse Miami (FL)
Wagner                 33,299 Florida Atl.                 50,151
Tulane                 36,128 Florida                 76,968
Clemson                 48,961 Savannah State                 42,571
Wake Forest                 38,550 Georgia Tech                 47,008
Pittsburgh                 35,317 Wake Forest                 66,160
Boston College                 37,406 Virginia Tech                 49,267
Average:                 38,277 Virginia                 44,732
Max Capacity:                 49,262 Average:                 53,837
Average Capacity (%): 78% Max Capacity:                 76,100
Total:               229,661 Average Capacity (%): 71%
Total:              376,857
Maryland North Carolina
Florida Int’l                 36,321 Middle Tennessee                 48,000
Old Dominion                 38,377 East Carolina                 60,000
West Virginia                 55,677 Miami                 56,000
Virginia                 41,077 Boston College                 43,000
Clemson                 48,134 Virginia                 50,000
Syracuse                 37,213 Old Dominion N/A
Boston College                 32,147 Duke                 62,000
Average:                 41,278 Average:                 51,400
Max Capacity:                 54,000 Max Capacity:                 62,980
Average Capacity (%): 76% Average Capacity (%): 82%
Total:               288,946 Total:              319,000
Wake Forest Pittsburgh
Presbyterian                 26,202 Florida State                 65,500
UL Monroe                 26,505 New Mexico                 40,249
NC State                 30,642 Virginia                 48,425
Maryland                 30,865 Old Dominion                 38,462
Florida State                 30,865 Notre Dame                 65,500
Duke                 28,463 North Carolina                 50,049
Average:                 28,924 Miami                 40,003
Max Capacity:                 31,500 Average:                 49,741
Average Capacity (%): 92% Max Capacity:                 65,500
Total:               173,542 Average Capacity (%): 76%
Total:              348,188
North Carolina State Virginia
Louisiana Tech                 54,204 BYU                 53,310
Richmond                 50,554 Oregon                 58,502
Clemson                 57,583 VMI                 40,165
Central Michigan                 56,728 Ball State                 38,228
Syracuse                 56,639 Duke                 39,071
North Carolina                 57,583 Georgia Tech                 41,930
East Carolina                 49,106 Clemson                 46,959
Maryland                 43,023 Virginia Tech                 52,069
Average:                 53,178 Average:                 46,279
Max Capacity:                 58,583 Max Capacity:                 61,500
Average Capacity (%): 91% Average Capacity (%): 75%
Total:               425,420 Total:              370,234

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17 thoughts on “ACC Attendance by the numbers

  1. great analysis!

  2. Great research compiling this data! Unfortunately, I think you missed a key point in your conclusion.
    With 8 ACC games and 4 OOC games, teams can schedule like this:
    home: 4 ACC + 1 BCS OOC + 2 buy-a-win = 7; away: 4 ACC + 1 BCS OOC = 5.
    With 10 ACC games, it would look like this:
    home: 5 ACC + 1 BCS OOC = 6; away: 5 ACC + 1 BCS OOC = 6.
    Nobody gets 7 home games – unless they drop the BCS OOC, which is highly undesirable!!!

    • M. Caffrey on said:

      I see what you’re saying, but you assume that teams are regularly scheduling 2 BCS OOC games. In most cases the teams would be upgrading a low-level BCS, FBS team, or even a 2nd FCS game to an ACC conf. game. Its actually a win-win for the fans.

      Look at each team’s 2014 OOC schedule:

      2014 non-conf. games (*=neutral site)
      Clemson (@Georgia, South Carolina State, Georgia State, South Carolina)
      Boston College (@UMass, USC, Colorado State, Maine)
      Florida State (Oklahoma State*, The Citadel, Notre Dame, Florida)
      Louisville (@Florida Int’l, @Notre Dame, Kentucky, Murray State)
      NC State (Georgia Southern, Old Dominion, @USF, Presbyterian)
      Syracuse (Villanova, @Central Michigan, Maryland, Notre Dame*)
      Wake Forest (@La.Monroe, @Utah State, Army)
      Duke (@Troy, Kansas, Elon, Tulane)
      Georgia Tech (Wofford, @Tulane, Georgia Southern, @Georgia)
      Miami (Florida A&M, @Nebraska, Cincinnati, Arkansas St.)
      UNC (Liberty, SDSU, @E. Carolina, @Notre Dame)
      Pitt (Delaware, @FIU, Iowa, Akron)
      UVA (UCLA, Richmond, @BYU, Kent St.)
      VPI (William & Mary, @Ohio St., E. Carolina, W. Michigan)

      Even with the current set-up, three schools only have 6 home games (4 including Syracuse who elected to play ND at MetLife stadium) and of the teams with 7 home games, there are a lot of C-USA, MAC, and Sun Belt teams (most of which want a home-home series in exchange anyway so they will likely be at 6 home games the following year). I’m merely suggesting swapping out those games with conf. games (including ND).

      In reality, it would look like this:
      Home: [5 ACC + 1 FCS] +1 regional rival/BCS (every other year)
      Away: [5 ACC] + 1 regional rival/BCS (every other other year)

      By having a regional rival (Clemson/So. Carolina, FSU/Florida, Georgia Tech/Georgia, VPI/Maryland, Pitt/WVU, Syracuse/Rutgers, L’Ville/Kentucky, etc…) there is the likelihood that the game would still be close-enough for most fans that they could travel there and have much more interest than just playing a BCS team from across the country.

      I realize that NC State fans would hate to lose such an attractive slate of winnable games (seriously how is that schedule even permissible?).

      Schools can still play 2 BCS game OOC if they want. For example, Clemson can still play Georgia and So. Carolina each year, but will have to drop the state versions of these teams (which should be done out of principal if only to minimize confusion).

  3. Too bad you failed to report on a crucial fact of this year’s FSU schedule. WVU pulled out of last year’s matchup, and forced FSU to scramble to replace them. That also factored into this year’s schedule. WVU was suppose to be on this year’s schedule, and FSU was suppose to be on the road at WVU. FSU for many reasons was not about to let WVU have a home game at Morgantown with no return, so FSU just pulled out all together. The problem is then you are trying to schedule a 2013 game with little wiggle room for 2014 due to ND, Okl St, and UF all non conference. So FSU wanted one non tough non conference game, like every other program has at least on easy non conference game. The problem is no big boy type team was going to play FSU at Doak (and FSU was not going to agree to travel without a home game in return) with no return. So either FSU agreed to do a home and home in 2013 and 2014, giving FSU 4 hard non conference teams in 2014 plus the ACC schedule, OR FSU had to bight the bullet and have another easy team at home. See, there is a logical reason for why Idaho was on the schedule. This is important, because you say there like a jerk taking shots at FSU trying to argue your insane point of 10 conference games.

    The ACC is viewed as weak, and FSU needs room to schedule big boys (which it tried to do no thanks to WVU, which you failed to report on, and 2014 made it hard to adjust 2013’s schedule with another big boy as already explained,) So either you willfully ignored key facts in your story to push your ACC agenda on FSU, or you are lazy. I would think what I mentioned is more than relevant to this story, considering the points you raised. I get the small ACC schools want more FSU, but FSU does not want more ACC. We want to 7 home games, and we want SOS. 8 ACC conference games provides that perfect balance. 10 ACC games would mean FSU plays 10 ACC schools that the committee will laugh at (have you not seen all the comments SINCE the ACC went 2-0 in BCS bowls this years, no one cared, and no respects the ACC). You may not care about that, but FSU does care. It wants more titles and to make money at home. It wants to have a shot at the playoff if it has 1 loss, like every other big 5 conference school not in the ACC will get. Do a poll, and I bet over 70% of non-acc voters will say a 1 loss ACC team will be left out of the playoff. If the committee follows that logic, and you know they will, then FSU needs to watch out for itself instead of helping Duke fill its stadium. FSU when it can, wants to schedule better non conference, (I explained what happened already the last 2 years, thank you WVU – a team that was very good when the game was scheduled). FSU wants the better non conference so it can help strengthen the SOS. UF is no longer the team it was, and UM is s shell of itself. The days of FSU beating UF and UM, and winning the ACC as enough to finish top 4 is over, UNLESS another pair of teams aside from UF or UM are top 10 type teams, at least top 15, because UM and UF do not look to be those teams (especially UM, UF could be back if injuries are the only issue they have.)

    Oh and I love how FSU wins the national title, carrying the ACC banner again, yet you have barely a mention of it (other than your overall bowl review). Yet you have time to blast FSU in this article to help push some anti-FSU article. You spend an entire article praising Clemson’s win over OSU. Got to love your slant. A friend of mine recommended your blog, because I was bitching that the ACC does not have a MrSEC type site, where it talks all things ACC and hopefully some fair takes on FSU. I have to say this is no MrSEC. It seems slanted, and does not report on some very important things. Not a good at all. Disappointed.

    • Pardon the horrible grammar. When I get pissed I tend to make those mistakes.

    • M. Caffrey on said:

      The article was just looking at attendance figures, not necessarily strength of schedule, and mostly noting that Clemson & FSU came out in big numbers to watch home games against otherwise unimpressive teams – regardless of what transpired to create those schedules. As noted, next year’s schedule for FSU is much better for the fans.

      Regarding SOS, considering that WVU only had 4 wins last year, I’m not sure that its very strong argument to say “but for WVU we would have had a better SOS”.

      As for your critique against Florida State’s coverage on this blog, perhaps you’d rather be part of the solution:

      Openings: If you like to write, and like an ACC team, we are always looking for volunteer correspondents who would like to contribute. Good way to put together a writing portfolio or be an incubator for a future blog of your own someday. We will take “correspondents” for any school. Really looking at Florida State, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, and Miami right now. But any school will work. If interested, follow us on Twitter @ acconfi and send us a direct message there or write us at!

      • The article dealt with attendance and poor schedules. SOS plays into scheduling. Also, why WVU was on and then off the schedule plays into attendance and scheduling. You cannot isolate your article and ignore key factors like SOS and schools pulling out of games that play into said article’s subject. If you ignore those things, I believe the article is less credible.

        As far as your point about WVU, I refer to my original post. When FSU scheduled WVU they were very good. Schools cannot see the future, and can only schedule major schools based on what they believe they will be in a few years when the game will take place. Pointing to WVUs record this year as proof of anything is not very informed. Everyone knows how scheduling works, that it is done years in advance when it comes to nonconference schedules. When FSU made WVU a non conference game, it thought it would help SOS. So when you sit there and take shots at FSU about why it scheduled Idaho, understand all the facts. Originally that game was suppose to be WVU at Morgantown. WVU pulled out in 2012, at Doak. So FSU yanked the 2013 game from WVU as well. FSU had to fill a spot. It could not get a major school to agree to only play FSU once at Doak. FSU was not about to go on the road once, with no return. FSU also did not want to make 2014 impossible, with 4 really good out of conference opponents. So, FSU this one year scheduled multiple crappy nonconference teams.

        As far as your response to my point that you barely cover FSU, unless it is to insult FSU that is, I say that I am no writer (as you can tell by my posts). I am not qualified. I would hope a site that calls itself the ACC Confidential would find ONE of its writer’s to talk about the biggest game in ACC Football history, FSU winning the national title, without needing an angry little FSU fan like myself to write it for you (considering the state of the ACC prior to this season, I would argue this game was bigger than any other game a ACC football team has ever played). Besides, I would only embarrass my school with my lame writing skills.

        • Oh and before you point to 2012 as having several crap teams remember USF was viewed as a good team when we scheduled them, and WVU pulled out so late in the game after calling 50 majors schools, FSU could only get another crap school to come to FSU.

        • M. Caffrey on said:

          Originally that game was suppose to be WVU at Morgantown. WVU pulled out in 2012, at Doak. So FSU yanked the 2013 game from WVU as well.

          The attendance for the games above are only home games. So, FSU playing WVU as an away game would not have factored-in at all.

          Again, the article was not about strength of schedule, it was about which schools can boast the highest attendance, even ones that had a slate that most fans would otherwise not want to show up to…which by the numbers was Clemson (even though they had 2 FCS teams on their schedule).

          If anything, WVU pulling out gave Florida State fans an extra home games – even if it was against a team that no one would otherwise have wanted to watch. So be glad.

          You seem to have a guilty conscience about this whole SOS thing and are acting really defensive. Relax, the NCAA won’t take your Championship away despite playing a weak home schedule.

        • So now you want to take personal shots? Real classy, I will make sure to spread the word not to view your site if that is your tactic when people point out clear mistakes in your work.

          There is no guilt, contrary to your foolish remark. WVU on the road would be one less home game against a crap opponent that lowers numbers you seem determined to use to blast FSU. FSU was suppose to be on the road, and that means % of attendance would go up without a low attended game to be factored in. You seem to miss that basic logic.

          SOS goes into whether or not fans will show up. If you bring in bad teams, less people come. So one needs to understand why FSU was stuck with some of its schedule the last two years. Yet, instead of commenting on relevant points, you take shots at FSU.

          Your attitude of anti-FSU speak is a big problem that many FSU fans have with the ACC lovers like yourself. They praise the ACC, insult FSU fans and FSU, and then never give praise when it is due. Instead of writing an article praising FSUs season after winning your beloved ACC a national title (I did not see Duke out there doing a whole lot in the regard, just losing to a 6th level SEC squad). you instead decide to blast FSU the first shot you get. Then in doing that, you do no disclaim facts that are clearly relevant and explain some of your numbers. For crying out loud you have an entire article praising Clemson’s OB win, but nothing but a quick mention along with every other bowl in one article about FSU winning. You still have yet to give anyone a reasonable explanation for your little website essentially ignoring the biggest game in ACC football history, in terms of who actually won the game. If Auburn won would have several posts analyzing, discussing, and praising the winner of the game as an SEC school. If Clemson won it all instead of being owned by FSU earlier this season, I am sure you would have 2 or 3 articles to that effect.

        • M. Caffrey on said:

          FSU was suppose to be on the road, and that means % of attendance would go up without a low attended game to be factored in. You seem to miss that basic logic.

          Check the math, Sparky. The attendance for the Idaho game was N/A, therefore it didn’t factor into the % Capacity. However, I gave FSU the benefit of the doubt that at least 38k showed up for the game, therefore giving FSU and Clemson credit for attendances over 500k on the season.

          I can’t really say why no one wrote about Florida State winning the national championship; except for the parts that we wrote about FSU winning the national championship and defended the importance of FSU’s win in the comments section.

          Frankly, I don’t really care. There are enough sports blogs out there that write exclusively about the Semenholes that you should be able to get your fix elsewhere.

        • Your insults show your insecurity about how way off base you article may be. Shows a lack of class and idiocy on your part. Poor professionalism. I pointed out numerous holes, and you have failed to address why they were not mentioned.

          You wrote an entire article about Clemson, and only mentioned FSUs win as part of a whole article about the ACC.

          Glad you admit your lack of credibility slick. For you to ignore what is the most important brand for the ACC, and try and call yourself a blog for all of the ACC tells me everything I need to know about your lack of credibility. You are running the All Carolina Conference Blog, not the ACC. I wonder of Mr SEC.COM uses your logic of “Oh there are plenty of Bama blogs out there, so I won’t bother addressing them much, regardless of whether they won the title or not.” You calling yourself ACC Confidential and choosing to ignore FSU because supposedly FSU gets enough attention is maybe the dumbest thing I have heard. Jealousy does not become you.

        • M. Caffrey on said:

          Jealousy does not become you.

          Hmmm…seems a little hypocritical calling me jealous considering that you are the one upset that your Semenholes were ignored.

        • The difference is, you are joke for not talking about FSU and what it did this season, other than a passing reference, but still finding time to write an entire article about Clemson’s win. That is very weak on your part. Also, any FSU fan would be justifiably disappointed in something that calls itself the ACC Confidential, holding itself out to be all things ACC, ignoring the most important football game in ACC history. Instead of giving FSU its due respect, you spit in our face by essentially ignoring the accomplishment other than a pathetic fly-by reference, meanwhile bragging about every other school then taking shots at FSU. With ACC Brothers like this, what use does FSU have with the ACC?

          ACC Confidential = 4th Rate Carolina Worship Blog

      • Brian,

        We blog about what we know. Been trying to find someone to write from an FSU perspective. We have someone to write from a Clemson perspective. Still looking for people to write about several schools. And sometimes the people that write about schools do not write as often as one would hope. It is what it is.

        Anyone can criticize, few can step up and do something. If you want to be the volunteer blogger for FSU, let me know @ I’d rather have AN opinion than NO opinion. Maybe MCaffrey disagrees, but I doubt it.


  4. M. Caffrey on said:

    Also, any FSU fan would be justifiably disappointed in something that calls itself the ACC Confidential, holding itself out to be all things ACC, ignoring the most important football game in ACC history.


    We were all set to cover what would have been the greatest football game in ACC history, let alone the history of the Div 1 football: Florida St. vs. West Virginia in Morgantown – since that would have been so amazing for FSU’s home attendance record.

    Unfortunately, the couch burners decided to cancel so we were stuck to cover the next most important game; Clemson’s amazing win over Ohio State in the Orange Bowl. To some it was the key for the ACC this year and yet another chance to shame the B1G.

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