When Did The BJC Hit Capacity This Weekend?
Every year the BJC attracts about 15,000 dancers, spectators, and families for its annual THON weekend. For some, entrance to the BJC is a given: families are accounted for at all times, committee members have scheduled times they’re approved to enter, and dancers, well, have to be there.
But for general spectators, getting into the BJC late Saturday night and early Sunday can be a strategic task. It’s like a game: stay in your apartment, napping as long as possible, but still get to the BJC before it hits capacity for good. Everyone wants to make the final four, but many also want to maximize their horizontal hours in the comfort of their home.
An R&R security leader told us the BJC was “getting close” to capacity around 9 a.m. Sunday morning, but there was never an announcement from THON that the BJC doors officially closed for good. Although THON’s Twitter account never tweeted that the doors were closed for good, the BJC was indeed shut off to spectators after Sunday afternoon.
“The BJC closed doors only once during THON 2015; this was leading into Family Hour on Sunday of THON. Right around 12:40 p.m., the doors to the BJC closed and remained that way for the rest of the weekend,” Rules & Regulations Event Safety Director Adam Jackon said.
Once the doors closed, no one else was let in even though a few people left in the final few hours of THON Weekend. “We had a very low number of people leave during the last 3.5 hours. With such a small number of people leaving, we were unable to call more people back into the building. Even though we did close the doors, there were still people coming to the BJC; most of these people went into Pegula Ice Arena to view the final four hours from there.”
For the BJC to remain open to new spectators during the Final Four is virtually unheard of, and this year was no exception. Historically, the BJC has hit capacity in the early afternoon of Sunday. For THON 2014, the doors to the BJC closed for good at 12:17 p.m. Sunday afternoon. For 2013, it was 10:54 a.m. on Sunday.
A few people throughout the weekend noticed that it did feel like there were fewer people flocking to the BJC than usual. This could be due to hype over the new digital entry system to control entrance, problems with the new pass system, concerns about capacity deterring people from coming at all, or this weekend’s rough weather.