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