Packed House (Not)

Opening paragraphs of an article in today's Wall Street Journal titled "Where Have All the Fans Gone?":

It was the kind of college-basketball game that used to guarantee a packed house.

When North Carolina took the court to play Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N.C., one night last month, it marked the reunion of two storied conference rivals whose campuses are separated by a short drive across the spine of a basketball-crazy state.

Yet when the No. 5 Tar Heels arrived, they found a crowd nearly 2,000 short of capacity. Never mind that Wake is having an off year; it was the lowest turnout for that matchup since Joel Coliseum opened in 1989.

It would be easy to blame the low attendance on Wake's horrific teams these last couple of years, but I think anyone from these parts who was being honest would tell you that in years past a UNC trip to Winston-Salem to scrimmage a high school team would have sold out the Joel. 

The article goes on to posit several possible reasons for the ACC's attendance decline: conference expansion which has diluted traditional rivalries, mediocre teams, low-profile coaches, a "charisma deficit" and the proliferation of cheap HD TVs that make the at-home viewing experience better than ever before. I'd say all of those factors have contributed to the conference's current malaise, but whatever the reasons I'd say ACC basketball seems to have jumped the shark, at least for now. 

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