Ticket sales slow for AAC ti­tle game; coach sends video plea

Baltimore Sun - - WEATHER - By Bill Wag­ner mine Dis­han Ro-

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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.

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