Ticket sales slow for AAC title game; coach sends video plea
One wouldn’t think it would be too hard to sell tickets to the first conference championship game in Navy football history.
But a large segment of the Navy fan base doesn’t seem to think it’s that big of a deal.
Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk expressed concern Wednesday night for the pace of ticket sales for Saturday’s American Athletic Conference championship game against Temple.
“When you think about it, the privilege we’ve earned to host this game is extraordinary. This is a tremendous opportunity for our football team and quite an accomplishment,” Gladchuk said. “You would think that something as historic as this is would excite our fan base.”
Navy averaged 33,322 for five home games this season. Matt Munnelly, Navy’s senior associate athletic director in charge of ticket operations, said 22,000 tickets had been sold as of Thursday night.
Gladchuk said coach Ken Niumatalolo taped a video message urging Navy fans to turn out Saturday and explaining the importance of having a raucous crowd on hand. The Naval Academy Athletic Association emailed Niumatalolo’s video plea for support to 150,000 supporters. AAC championship game Saturday, noon TV: Chs. 2, 7 Radio: 1090 AM, 1430 AM Line: Navy by 21⁄
Part of the problem is that Navy did not know it was hosting the AAC championship game until late Saturday night. That meant the ticket sales effort could not begin in earnest until Sunday morning.
Another problem is that a large contingent of fans attending home football games are there as part of a Naval Academy class reunion. Gladchuk said there are five or six class reunions for every home game and those gatherings bring back 3,000 to 4,000 alums. Injury report: Navy got good news on the injury front this week as it appears fullback Chris High (ankle), slotback
(head) and cornerback Elijah Merchant (concussion) will all be available Saturday.
Merchant, who has sat out four straight games, practiced all week. Meanwhile, starting outside linebacker Josiah Powell will sit out a third straight game with a leg injury. Slotbacks Josh Brown (ankle) and Josh Walker (shoulder) are also out.