CU, CSU sell more sea­son tick­ets

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Kyle Fredrick­son

The state bucked a na­tional trend of de­clin­ing Foot­ball Bowl Sub­di­vi­sion game at­ten­dance last fall, and with less than 40 days left un­til the 2017 sea­son be­gins, the Uni­ver­sity of Colorado and Colorado State are rid­ing waves of in­creased sea­son-ticket sales.

As of Fri­day af­ter­noon, CU had sold 19,353 sea­son tick­ets (a boost of 1,342 from 2016) and CSU had sold more than 17,000 (an in­crease of more than 3,000). The col­lec­tive jump con­tin­ues a trend of in­creased fan at­ten­dance for each foot­ball pro­gram.

Ac­cord­ing to the NCAA, CU and CSU ranked among the top 25 na­tion­ally in 2016 for largest gains in av­er­age home at­ten­dance — CU was No. 7 (plus-7,220) and CSU was No. 25 (plus-2,683). Mean­while, ac­cord­ing to CBS Sports, the av­er­age FBS crowd de­clined na­tion­ally for a sixth con­sec­u­tive sea­son and was again the low­est av­er­age since 2000.

Last fall, CU av­er­aged 46,609 fans per home game. CSU av­er­aged 27,600. If 2017 sea­son-ticket sales at the schools are an in­di­ca­tion, those fig­ures are pro­jected to rise once again, thanks to sev­eral fac­tors.

The Buf­faloes won 10 games for the first time since 2001, and the pro­gram that hadn’t sold out a home game dat­ing back eight sea­sons fi­nally packed the house to watch CU win the 2016 Pac-12 South cham­pi­onship. This year, CU has sold out two of its club sec­tions in the south end zone at Fol­som Field for the first time and re­newed 98 per­cent of its 2016 sea­son-ticket hold­ers.

“The fan ex­cite­ment and that en­ergy when the team is com­ing off a win­ning year af­ter 10 years of not win­ning has just been tremen­dous,” said Matt Big­gers, CU’s as­so­ciate ath­letic di­rec­tor of ex­ter­nal af­fairs and chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer. “Peo­ple are re­ally ex­cited to get on board.”

CSU’s nearly com­pleted on­cam­pus sta­dium is sold out of sea-

son tick­ets for its lux­ury suites, loge boxes and pri­or­ity west stands seat­ing. Add-ons for the New Bel­gium Porch in the north end zone and the Or­tho­pe­dic & Spine Cen­ter of the Rock­ies field club be­hind the Rams’ bench also are sold out.

The Rams, fresh off con­sec­u­tive 7-6 sea­sons, broke what’s be­lieved to be their pro­gram sea­son-ticket sales record (12,000 in 1998).

“We went through a process in the spring and tran­si­tioned ev­ery­one that was a sea­son-ticket holder in (2016) into the (new) sta­dium through a seat­s­e­lec­tion process that was very suc­cess­ful,” CSU ath­letic di­rec­tor Joe Parker said Tues­day. “We con­tin­ued our sales of new sea­son tick­ets, and as we stand to­day, we’re at more than 14,000 sea­son tick­ets.”

Late July marks the fi­nal push for ticket of­fices across the na­tion to fill sea­son-ticket or­ders. At its peak, Fol­som Field av­er­aged 52,098 fans per game in 1996. The most fans Hughes Sta­dium av­er­aged was 31,224 in 1994, an eas­ily bro­ken record with just one sell­out at the new Sonny Lu­bick Field.

There’s only one con­stant should CU and CSU aim for a re­turn to 1990s-es­que crowds. Just win.

“You don’t want to be at a place where there is min­i­mal pres­sure or min­i­mal ex­pec­ta­tions,” CSU coach Mike Bobo said. “It’s a big re­spon­si­bil­ity mov­ing into this sta­dium and this fa­cil­ity. We talk about it all the time, that we’ve got to earn the right to come out here and play and rep­re­sent Colorado State.”

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