Attendance across all of college football dipped once again in 2012, and the ACC was no exception.
According to great analysis done by al.com, average attendance is down 3 percent since 2008 to an average of 45,274 per game. Specifically in the ACC, attendance was down to 49,544, its smallest average in 12 years.
The ACC was not alone. Five of the six automatic-qualifying conferences had lower averages this season. Further, eight schools from the AQ conferences saw attendance dip by 10 percent or more from last season. Four current or future ACC schools are among them: Maryland (15 percent); Wake Forest, Pittsburgh and North Carolina (each 10 percent).
Five current/future ACC schools saw attendance go up. Boston College was surely helped with a home game against Notre Dame; likewise, Miami was no doubt helped with a home game against Florida State. And Duke was helped by its most successful season since 1994.
Here are the averages for all 12 ACC schools, along with future members Pitt, Syracuse and Louisville. I also list whether attendance is up or down over 2011.
Clemson: 79,429, Up 2 percent
Florida State: 75,601, Down 3 percent
Virginia Tech: 65,632, Negligible decrease
NC State: 54,106, Down 4 percent
North Carolina:50,286, Down 10 percent
Louisville: 49,991, Up 3 percent
Miami: 47,719, Up 2 percent
Virginia: 46,650, Down 3 percent
Georgia Tech: 43,955, Down 9 percent
Pitt: 41,494, Down 10 percent
Syracuse: 39,507, Down 6 percent
Boston College: 37,020, Up 4 percent
Maryland:36,023, Down 15 percent
Wake Forest: 28,912, Down 10 percent
Duke: 28,170, Up 15 percent
We all know this was a down year in the ACC, so the attendance numbers do not come as a major shock. Also remember, Florida State had two FCS games at home, which surely contributed to the decrease. Pitt also played two FCS games at home. For both teams, that was a result of conference realignment.
It is more interesting to see how close teams came to filling their stadiums to capacity. That is a better gauge given the large disparity in stadium size -- from the large ones at Clemson and Florida State to the smaller ones at Wake Forest and Duke. Six schools -- Clemson, Florida State, NC State, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech and Louisville were more than 90 percent full this season.