For the second straight year, Virginia Tech was forced to open up football season ticket sales to the general public earlier this offseason. But it appears those efforts won’t be enough to preserve Virginia Tech’s 15-year streak of sellouts when its home schedule kicks off Saturday against a Football Championship Subdivision foe.
“I think the sellout streak will end against Western Carolina,” Athletic Director Jim Weaver said Monday night on “Tech Talk Live,” the athletic department’s weekly radio show.
Virginia Tech has sold out 93 straight games at Lane Stadium, a streak that began on Nov. 28, 1998, in a 36-32 loss to Virginia. During that time, the school also expanded Lane Stadium’s capacity from 53,662 to 66,233.
But Virginia Tech’s 7-6 record in 2012 – the program’s worst in 20 years – and a 2013 home slate that doesn’t include any high-profile nonconference matchups or games against ACC powers Florida State and Clemson seems to have persuaded some fans to spend their money elsewhere.
Regular season tickets cost $300 for the six-game home schedule. Student season tickets cost $66.
It doesn’t help that Western Carolina is one of the worst FCS programs in the country, with just six wins since 2009. The Catamounts lost to Middle Tennessee, 45-24, to begin the 2013 season.
“Our players have worked hard & deserve a PACKED Lane Stadium Sat. DO NOT let our 93 game sell out streak end,” Virginia Tech running backs coach Shane Beamer tweeted after Weaver’s announcement.
Many Hokies fans were also upset that Weaver requested the ACC not schedule a home Thursday night game at Virginia Tech this season, although Weaver has maintained he was looking to give alumni who travel from across the state a one-year break from taking off work for a weekday game. The Hokies had hosted a Thursday night game for 11 consecutive years before this season.
In addition, Weaver revealed Monday night that both Virginia Tech and Alabama received $2.5 million for participating in Saturday’s neutral-site opener in Atlanta this past Saturday. He noted that it’s more money than the Hokies typically make during a home game.