RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — On Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, Virginia Commonwealth University’s men’s basketball team had their season opener, a 57-54 win over the Saint Peter’s Peacocks.

That night, a sellout streak at the Siegel Center that dated back to January of 2011 and lasted 166 games came to an end.

This season, ticket sales and revenue from concessions were about $625,000 lower than in the 2019-2020 season and average attendance in that time has dropped by nearly a thousand.

At a meeting with the VCU Board of Visitors this week, Athletic Director Ed McLaughlin characterized the decline in revenue as being caused in large part by the mask mandate at the stadium, claiming some fans said they would refuse to attend games if masks were required.

Another possible cause for the decline in attendance is increased costs per ticket. According to VCU Athletics’ website and a report from VCU’s student newspaper The Commonwealth Times, the base price for season tickets hasn’t increased since 2019, going from $475 to their current price of $499.

Ahead of the 2020-2021 season, however, a $250 “donation” was made necessary in order to reserve season tickets. According to a report from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the extra fee was added after a law was enacted removing tax deductions from revenue made from college athletics.