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Virginia Basketball attendance reaches all-time high, nears top of ACC

Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

As Virginia's men's basketball program continues to rise and tries to cement itself as an upper echelon team in the ACC, Wahoo fans are noticing, and they're showing up in record numbers.

Virginia ranks 23rd in the nation in terms of average basketball attendance per game, and you can view the entire list here (PDF). But the rankings themselves don't really tell you all that much. For example, though Syracuse boasts attendance numbers averaging 23,854 per game, their Carrier Dome seats 33,000. Their percentage of max capacity, then, was only 72.28%.

That's not to diminish 23,854 butts in seats (or at least, wallets buying tickets). That's still a heck of a lot of people in one place. But for a school like Duke, whose max capacity is only 9,314, the Devils will never rank atop the attendance list.

So, we took a look at the ACC schools and re-ranked them based on percentage of max capacity. The table below shows the results. The National Rank column is based on the average attendance, not the percentage. As you'll see, Virginia is only fifth when it comes to average attendance numbers, but based on a percentage of capacity, the Hoos are third in the conference, behind only Duke (which boasts, yet again, 100% attendance) and Louisville.

Here are the ACC numbers:

Nat'l Rank School Games Attendance Average Capacity Percentage
47 Duke 16 149,024 9,314 9,314 100.00%
3 Louisville 19 406,338 21,386 22,090 96.81%
23 VIRGINIA 16 218,493 13,656 14,593 93.58%
4 North Carolina 15 293,723 19,582 21,750 90.03%
59 Notre Dame 19 146,576 7,715 9,149 84.33%
41 Pittsburgh 18 180,221 10,012 12,508 80.04%
12 NC State 20 308,726 15,436 19,557 78.93%
62 Clemson 17 129,800 7,635 10,000 76.35%
1 Syracuse 18 429,378 23,854 33,000 72.28%
85 Georgia Tech 16 99,212 6,202 8,600 72.12%
43 Wake Forest 18 174,336 9,685 14,665 66.04%
NR Miami 18 91,991 5,111 7,972 64.11%
93 Virginia Tech 18 103,401 5,745 9,847 58.34%
74 Florida State 18 120,650 6,703 12,100 55.40%
NR Boston College 17 76,268 4,486 8,606 52.13%

How's Virginia Doing Historically?

This is a record-year for Virginia, averaging 13,656 fans per game, or averaging at 93.58% capacity. The last time the Hoos had greater than 90% attendance was in 2007, when 13,521 fans showed up per game, or 92.65%. A lot of things came together for the 2007 season's numbers, including an ACC Regular Season co-title and of course, the opening of John Paul Jones Arena under Dave Leitao's second year at the helm.

The numbers below from 2006 and prior (we only looked back to 1990) are at University Hall, which had a maximum capacity of just 8,457.

Year Nat'l Rank Games Attendance Average Percentage
2015 23 16 218,493 13,656 93.58%
2014 30 17 198,631 11,684 80.07%
2013 46 22 206,876 9,403 64.44%
2012 36 16 168,349 10,522 72.10%
2011 43 17 172,659 10,156 69.60%
2010 43 17 172,389 10,141 69.49%
2009 40 17 173,716 10,219 70.03%
2008 34 20 234,092 11,705 80.21%
2007 19 17 229,858 13,521 92.65%
2006 66 14 109,150 7,796 53.42%
2005 70 15 114,255 7,617 90.07%
2004 75 18 131,369 7,298 86.30%
2003 65 15 112,726 7,515 88.86%
2002 63 17 133,612 7,860 92.94%
2001 60 15 123,293 8,220 97.20%
2000 65 14 108,720 7,766 91.83%
1999 79 15 99,364 6,624 78.33%
1998 87 13 81,529 6,271 74.15%
1997 63 14 108,106 7,722 91.31%
1996 65 14 108,293 7,735 91.46%
1995 65 17 128,712 7,571 89.52%
1994 53 14 116,978 8,356 98.81%
1993 50 15 130,216 8,681 102.65%
1992 49 13 114,815 8,832 104.43%
1991 65 14 113,960 8,140 96.25%
1990 53 13 115,232 8,864 104.81%

If Virginia, ranked in the preseason top 10, performs as expected this upcoming season, they could be looking to break attendance records once again.