Carla Williams, the director of athletics for the University of Virginia (UVA), considered what steps the Athletics Department needed to take in the coming years to increase revenues. In 2017, UVA athletics revenues totaled approximately $100.6 million, making it the 27th-highest revenue program in the United States among schools for which this information was available (private schools did not need to publicly report financial information).
The UVA Cavaliers?or, as they were known locally, the Wahoos or 'Hoos?had a number of athletics programs that were consistently ranked among the nation's elite. Still, football fan attendance lagged well behind what Williams thought it should be for a school of UVA's size and reputation. This was a big problem because the money to fund all aspects of a high-performing athletics department, including scholarships, facilities, and coaching salaries, depended in a major way on the revenue generated by the flagship sports?football and men's basketball.
At a high level, the question facing Williams was simple: How could UVA get butts in seats at home football games? However, thinking about all the moving parts involved in this question, it got a lot more complicated.