Low Attendance Forces Duke Athletics To Sell Their Student Seats

I remember when I hopped on the Duke bandwagon as a little seven year-old tyke. One of my favorite elements of the Duke games I watched were the Cameron Crazies. Boy, they sure lived up to their name. It was simply a madhouse because there were clearly more than 1,000 Duke students packed into their section.

Now, that number is diminishing fast, and Duke is starting to sell the seats which are usually reserved for the Cameron Crazies.

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From Duke Chronicle:

Student attendance at men’s basketball games has fallen consistently over the last five years, even dropping after Duke won its fourth national championship in 2010. This season, approximately 650 undergraduates have attended each game, 150 fewer than during the 2008-09 season. As a result, Duke Athletics has begun to sell an increasing number of general admission tickets in the student section on a regular basis.

“It has nothing to do with the revenue. We just want it to be full,” Director of Marketing and Relations Mike Forman said. “If there were 1,200 students every game we would love it.”

This is not the first season in which students have been accompanied by paying customers in Section 17, the 1,200-seat stretch of bleachers that run parallel to the court across from the team benches. Last season, Section 17 tickets were sold for every regular season home game except for Michigan State and North Carolina. Approximately 850 tickets are sold to home games during winter break, reserving 100 spots for local students to attend.

A big reason for this drop in student attendance is because of the students’ “misconception of the time commitment involved” as well as the “increasing prevalence and popularity of online streaming on sites like WatchESPN.com”. Student attendance might also be down because there has maybe not been enough entertainment, if that’s what you want to call it.

I’ve never been to a Duke game before so I don’t know what the atmosphere is like. But, I have heard that it has gotten better over the last few years. Apparently Duke has been incorporating highlight videos, music, and player introductions to make the atmosphere like the rest of the other sporting event atmospheres.

Mike Forman, Duke’s Director of Marketing and Relations, said, “Every other school in the country is playing canned music during timeouts, doing cheesy promotions,” Forman said. “We try to stay away from that.”

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