Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

ACC Championship Game likely won't feature a full house

Recruiting effort: BC coach Jeff Jagodzinski has had several of his coaches scout area players during this trip.

Getty Images

Recruiting effort: BC coach Jeff Jagodzinski has had several of his coaches scout area players during this trip.

TAMPA — Despite aggressive marketing, today's ACC Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium is feeling the pinch of a sagging economy and a less-than-alluring matchup.

About 55,000 of the 65,000 seats have been sold, organizers said, which isn't bad, but that figure doesn't necessarily mean that many fans will go through the turnstiles.

The problem is that Virginia Tech, a school renowned for strong fan support, sold only about 3,000 of its 10,000 allotted tickets. Boston College sold fewer than 2,000 of its 10,000. Local organizers have taken dramatic steps to assure a championship-caliber atmosphere by giving tickets away to folks who have signed up as volunteers for the Super Bowl.

"Since we were awarded the game a year ago, we have worked day and night to create the atmosphere befitting the ACC championship," Tampa Bay Sports Commission executive director Rob Higgins said Friday afternoon. "I'm proud of the job we've done."

After the game struggled to draw fans in its second and third years in Jacksonville, the league awarded the game to Tampa for 2009 and 2010 and then to Charlotte, N.C., for 2011-2012. Tampa organizers set ticket prices as low as $25, substantially less than the $65 least-expensive seat in Jacksonville, and incorporated ancillary activities (such as a concert tonight) around the game to enhance the bang for the buck.

But fans of the Hokies and Eagles didn't know they were headed to Tampa until last week, and plane fare on less than a week's notice can be expensive. It didn't help that the Hokies are 8-4 and unranked and BC is 9-3 and ranked No. 18. Consider: Last year, the same two schools combined to sell about 11,500 of their 20,000 allotted tickets.

Tickets can be bought at the stadium box office or by going to theroadtotampabay.com.

Recruiting opportunity: BC coach Jeff Jagodzinski said a trip to the bay area, and Florida in general, can be a boon for recruiting, especially in a game that's televised nationally.

"That helps, and it gets our brand out there," he said. "The best recruiting tool? Go win the next game."

BC has several Floridians on the roster, including starting QB Dominique Davis (Lakeland Kathleen), RB Montel Harris (Jacksonville Trinity Christian), CB DeLeon Gause (Miami Central) and DE Max Holloway (Jefferson).

Jagodzinski said that after a team meeting Friday, a couple of his coaches would be out scouting some of the area playoff games.

Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, however, hasn't stressed Florida that much in recent years, choosing to focus on his state, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Maryland.

"We used to come down here quite a bit; there's some great players in Florida. There's no question about the caliber of football down here," he said. "But when we got in the ACC, we kind of tightened the areas that we recruit — about six hours within Blacksburg is where we want to go."

BC-VT connections: Hokies DB coach Torrian Gray is from Lakeland and went to Lakeland Kathleen, the same school that produced the Eagles' Davis. In fact, one of Davis' prep coaches, Irving Strickland, is good friends with Gray and might have to wear something to today's game from Tech and something from BC.

ACC Championship Game likely won't feature a full house 12/05/08 [Last modified: Sunday, December 7, 2008 10:28am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Crosstown rivals Bloomingdale-Newsome kick off season

    Footballpreps

    LITHIA — In a week filled with area football rivalries, there is a game on the east side of Hillsborough County — Bloomingdale vs. Newsome — that has matured into a classic crosstown battle, complete with classic cliches.

    Bloomingdale wide receiver Ed Amos charges through a drill a few days before the big rivalry game against Newsome on Friday night.
  2. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: Several key players still sidelined

    Bucs

    Greg Auman gives an injury update, with several key players still sidelined from practice three days before the Bucs play the Cleveland Browns in Tampa, and a full recap of your favorite scenes from Tuesday …

    Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans was held out of practice Wednesday at One Buc Place. [CHARLIE KAIJO | Times]
  3. Playoff ambitions evident in opener for Zephyrhills, Wiregrass Ranch

    Footballpreps

    WESLEY CHAPEL — A new football season in Pasco County begins Friday night, but this one promises to be like none before it — with more math than ever. A new playoff system emphasizes schedule strength, making non-district tilts particularly important.

    Wiregrass Ranch wide receiver Jordan Miner catches a pass in spring practice at Wiregrass Ranch High School in Wesley Chapel on Monday, May 1, 2017.
  4. Dirk Koetter says Bucs used team meeting to discuss social issues

    Bucs

    During a 20-minute team meeting Tuesday, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter decided to turn the discussion to social issues and whether players are expected to stand for the national anthem.

    "The main thing is we have to respect everybody's opinion," Dirk Koetter said, "because everybody is not going to agree." [AP photo]
  5. Rookie tight end Antony Auclair making case to stick with Bucs

    Bucs

    Don't let his modest preseason stats fool you: Antony Auclair, the undrafted rookie tight end from Canada is making a strong case to stick around on the Bucs' 53-man roster this season.

    Bucs tight end Antony Auclair (82) collides with a defender following a catch during training camp. [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]