Death Valley might not be filled up with 81,500 fans in the fall, but at least there will be some fans in the stands at Memorial Stadium in Clemson. And no one is happier about it that the players.
“We will not feel like we are out there just doing a scrimmage. So, that will be beautiful,” cornerback Andrew Booth said following Thursday’s practice.
Clemson announced Thursday Death Valley will be reduced to approximately 19,000 fans, based on six feet of social distance among outdoor seating pods due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fans will be seated primarily in pods of two and four affiliated guests throughout the stadium.
“That is huge because we all thought it was just going to be us just talking to each other,” cornerback Booth said. “To be able to have those 19,000 people, that is a huge blessing.”
The 19,000 fans that will be allowed to watch the Tigers’ six home games in 2020, will mark the first time since Clemson started keeping attendance at Memorial Stadium that the average attendance will be less than 25,800.
According to Clemson’s 2020 media guide, Clemson averaged 25,874 fans during its four home games in 1963. Memorial Stadium opened in 1942 and originally had a seating capacity of 20,000.
In 1958, Clemson added 18,000 sideline seats and then in 1960, it built the west end zone stands, which increased capacity by 5,658.
Clemson added an upper deck on the south side of the stadium in 1978, which increased capacity to 63,000 and then in 1983 the north upper deck was opened, which pushed Clemson to over 83,000 fans. Clemson has since decreased attendance to its current 81,500 after renovations to the west end zone in 2009 and then the luxury suites on both the south and north sides of the stadium in 2015.
Since 1983, Clemson has averaged no less than 66,845 fans in a season. Since 2009, it has not averaged fewer than 75,793 football fans and no less than 80,400 since 2012.
Clemson has led the ACC every year in attendance since 2010 and has ranked in the top 15 nationally for eight consecutive years and in the top 20 every year since 1981.
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