Conference Tournament Stadiums Packed With...Empty Seats

Marcus ShockleyCorrespondent IMarch 13, 2009

It's no secret that the United States is suffering a major economic downturn, and Conference and NCAA Tournament ticket sales across the nation are reflecting this, just as retail sales and real estate are.

Television screens across the country are showing a stark reality: The attendance for conference tournaments is down, sometimes dramatically. The ACC late night game in the first round looked like a practice gym.

Of course, there's likely to be a different atmosphere when the top teams come to play, but it's obvious that ticket sales are down significantly. Not dead, perhaps, but down. This will likely carry over into next week's sales of NCAA Tournament tickets, especially in the Regional games, where it's likely the teams with large fanbases will be playing farther from home.

If UNC gets a No. 1 seed, they will likely be playing in Greensboro, which is a short ride down I-40 from Raleigh and Chapel Hill, and right in the center of UNC fan nation, so ticket sales might actually be higher than they were for the ACC Tournament in Atlanta.

This might have less of an effect on the NIT, where the first rounds are played at the higher seed's home court, and local fans won't have to travel.