ORLANDO, Fla. — When the Atlantic Coast Conference decided to pull its championship games out of the state of North Carolina on Sept. 13 due to the concerns growing for the House Bill 2, it knew it was going to take a hit, especially when it came to attendance in its football championship game.
When No. 3 Clemson takes on No. 18 Virginia Tech in tonight’s ACC Championship Game from Orlando’s Camping World Stadium, the crowd will be noticeably smaller than in recent years as there are expected to be thousands and thousands of empty seats. Had the game remained at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium, tonight’s game most likely would have been sold out due to close proximity of both Blacksburg, Virginia and Clemson. Both schools are just a little more than a two-hour drive to Charlotte as opposed to the more than 8-10 hour drives it takes to get to Orlando.
The Clemson Insider learned on Friday approximately 50,000 tickets were sold prior to Sept. 13 when the ACC made its decision to move its football championship game from Charlotte. Included in that 50,000 were the 11,000 combined tickets the ACC allocates for the two schools that will play in the game.
TCI was told approximately 35,000 ticket purchasers received refunds after the Sept. 13 decision to move the game. TCI speculates a large portion of those refunds were likely Clemson fans since many bought them with the expectation that Clemson would be there.
TCI was told Virginia Tech and Clemson did not sell all of their allotted 5,500 tickets. Clemson sold approximately 5,400 of its allotment. Clemson will have tens of thousands fewer fans in the stands when tonight’s game kicks off at 8 p.m.
Last year, Clemson sold out its original allotment of 5,500, and because of the demands from IPTAY, it had to go back to the ACC and ask for more. Clemson sold 6,000 tickets from its second allotment for a total of 11,500 overall.
In addition to the Tigers’ allotment, Clemson fans snatched up the remaining tickets through other means and had all the available tickets sold before North Carolina clinched the Coastal Division title a few weeks later.
Clemson fans packed Bank of America Stadium last year as nearly 3/4 of the ACC-record crowd of 74,514 were wearing orange. Had this year’s game remained in Charlotte Clemson would have owned the crowd once again.
It was announced on Sept. 29 that Orlando’s Camping World Stadium would host this year’s ACC Championship Game. No decision has been made by the ACC at this time on where the 2017 ACC Championship Game will be held.