Andrew Bienka-Husker Corner

Husker Football Season Tickets Waiting List Could Be Cause For Concern


Over 333 games, Husker football season tickets have become family heirlooms. From humble beginnings when Bob Devaney took his first team on the field against Missouri in 1962 to when Bo Pelini flung his hat, nearly hitting a ref on Black Friday 2013.

“Sold out” and full to capacity. Never in doubt, right?

Well, expanded seating and a team that hasn’t quite gotten over the hump has brought a surprising lack of demand for those pieces of paper. So surprising that there’s now a large push from the athletic department to get new season ticket holders to join the football ticket waiting list.

Would it shock you if I told you that during the 2013-2014 bowl season, the Nebraska athletic department sold the least amount of tickets from their allotment compared to any other Big 10 school?

According to a document submitted to the NCAA and obtained by The Gazette (Iowa City) through an open-records request, Nebraska’s athletics department sold just 1,748 Gator Bowl tickets at a loss of nearly $800,000.

Nebraska was allotted 12,678 tickets. That means only 13 percent were sold and begs the question of why such a lack of demand?

We can speculate all we want, but the fact of the matter is that interest is apparently dwindling if not getting close to dead.

2014 brought new initiatives from the AD, specifically for increasing the ease of use of obtaining season tickets (preferably in bulk).The ‘Seat-Yourself’ feature allows fans to view a digital map of the stadium on the Husker Ticket Office website.

It selects open seating allowing for fans to actually see where they will sit if they should make a purchase.

If you’ve driven with the radio turned to any sports station lately, it’s very likely that you’ve heard advertisements encouraging you to go to join the Husker football season tickets waiting list. The same can be said if you’ve made it to almost any Nebraska sporting event this spring.

This marketing push has noticeably increased over the last few seasons, but is it actually making a difference? The telltale sign will be this fall.

Through most of the 2013 home schedule, it was very likely that you could look into the upper parts of the end zone seating and see pockets of empty seats. The student section, a topic in and of itself, was often home to empty rows towards the top.

However, ‘tickets sold’ and ‘butts in the seats’ are two different things. The concern for the decision makers in North Stadium comes when the average Nebraska fan and donors who actually purchase seats decide not to and invest that money elsewhere.

Will those pockets of empty seats trickle down? Maybe, maybe not. Do I have any real doubts that 2014 will see the end of the vaunted sellout streak? No, I don’t.

That said, this should be an eye opener for Shawn Eichorst and his staff along with all fans to not take the next sold out season for granted. That can’t be emphasized enough if the on the field product does not live up to the lofty (and possibly unreasonable) expectations of the ‘Greatest Fans in College Football’.

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  • Carlos Dangerfield

    Talk about an article of rash overstatements and false conclusions. The Gator Bowl didn’t do well because it was a bowl rematch against Georgia and in Jacksonville in the winter. Additionally, buying tickets from other outlets and scalpers is cheaper than buying through the athletic department. SI articles are laughable when it comes to all things Nebraska.

  • 1audiofile

    I agree with Carlos. The main issue was a repeat of the previous bowl game and no one was interested in a rematch. Also, as stated Jacksonville is not a great place to go compared to other possible locations. No disrespect to Jacksonville. The 2013 year was a disappointment for Husker fans mainly because so much of the team had gone down to injury during the year. Most important was Taylor’s senior season should have been his best. Instead an injury greatly disabled him eliminating his ability to turn on the jets. We saw the effect of this kind of injury during his Freshman year. Without his speed Taylor was simply not that effective. Even worse, the injury hurt his ability to deliver a pass effectively. He had improved his passing from 56 percent to over 62 percent during his junior year. Sad that his senior year never really happened.

    • http://www.rantsports.com Brandon Cavanaugh

      I feel incredibly bad for Taylor. In fact, our own Leigh Oleszczak did a writeup on where he goes from here if football doesn’t pan out. Hopefully he lands on his feet (in a less painful way).

  • Matt Poulsen

    Do your homework. Nebraska was in a rematch game, was once again playing in Florida and was just coming off a very disappointing end to the season. This had nothing to do with NU fans and everything to do with the horrible matchup NU got. In addition, it should also be noted that NU fans are savvy. They have learned that the best tickets and prices are not found through the allotment sent to each school. I can promise you many many more people showed up than 1800 and NU was one of the stronger represented schools of the B10 in the respective bowls.

    This SI author seems to know very little with respect to Nebraska or Nebraska football. As far as a marketing push, does the author even realize that Nebraska just expanding seating in the stadium?? And we’re still talking about being put on the waitlist for god’s sake.

    Do just a little bit of research.

    • http://www.rantsports.com Brandon Cavanaugh

      Matt,

      All due respect, you’re not talking about an SI author. Also, I sincerely doubt that all Nebraska fans use services like StubHub. Did the rematch game hurt? You bet, but the lack of attendance did put a ding against fans for traveling well from a national perspective, unfortunately.

      • Matt Poulsen

        Most people I know do not go through the ticket office. You can get better tickets going through private vendors. I for one have never purchased a ticket from the university’s ticket allotment.

  • Daniel Revas

    So he’s sure the Sellout Streak will end in 2014? I’m glad he’s not picking the Stocks for my 401k.

    • http://www.rantsports.com Brandon Cavanaugh

      “Do I have any real doubts that 2014 will see the end of the vaunted sellout streak? No, I don’t.”

      I don’t think he does.

      • Matthew Pelton

        To me that sentence says he has no doubts 2014 will see the end of the sellout streak.

        • http://www.rantsports.com Brandon Cavanaugh

          He literally writes out a potential question about whether or not he sincerely doubts it’ll end and says “no”. How can this be misinterpreted?

          • BeansNRice

            It’s poorly written if people are confusing what he wrote.

          • Brandon Cavanaugh

            That would be true, but with all due respect, a single person is apparently confused with what the author wrote. People aren’t fond of the bowl comparison, but only one person (yourself included) have made mention of the sentence’s difficulty to understand.

          • Matthew Pelton

            Read it again. The question is if he has any real doubts that 2014 will see the end of the sellout streak. He then answers, “No, I don’t.” I don’t think I am misinterpreting anything. He should have said, yes I have doubts. I knew what he meant but what it says and what he meant are two different things. I’m sorry that this is the case but this is poorly written.

          • Daniel Revas

            A moot point since as of this date there are only about 100 Season Tickets left.

  • Mr. Augustus

    Comparing ticket demand and sales between a home stadium and a bowl stadium over a thousand miles away is a bit of apples and oranges in my opinion. Also, pockets of empty seats in the fourth quarter during blowouts (although you did your best to make it seem like it was an beginning of the game, every week ordeal) doesn’t constitute lack of demand… Actually this whole article is simply just off…

    • http://www.rantsports.com Brandon Cavanaugh

      As someone who’s been at several home games after the expansion, I can assure you the fourth quarter one of four where pockets were seen.

      • Matt Poulsen

        a lot of those pockets are a result of the new system they have in place for student tickets. It makes transfer more difficult and makes it harder for students and non-students (who buy student tickets) to attend.

  • Andy in Atlanta

    What is so funny is that Nebraska may not have sold its allotment but there were plenty of Husker fans down at the Gator Bowl… likely around 15 K… just because the school has full priced tickets to sell does not mean that fans have to be stupid enough to pay full price when they know half off tickets will be available to a bowl game nobody was really interested in…. My wife and I drove down and enjoyed the game… for $20 a ticket…

  • D_SIZZ

    What does this have to do with the game? A long ass article about attendance. Write about something worth reading. Stop trying to create drama.

    • Brandon Cavanaugh

      The Gator Bowl is an example. The pockets of empty seats are a constant reality.

  • Hannah Liptac

    The issue with the empty seats at the top of the student section is related to the general admission tickets. The students cram into the rows below, leaving space at the top. Yes, some games have more space than others, but if you look at the volume of students compared to the rest of the stadium filling one seat per person, there is no comparison.

  • Artifex

    The bowl game lack of interest was no surprise, so trying to frame it as one is a little disingenuous. Let’s look at why no one really wanted to go: 1) another (sigh) game in Florida. 2) Another game against an opponent we JUST played last bowl game. Really? 3) We had lost out on the chance to play a former Big12 opponent, and got shoved to the back burner 4) Jacksonville? I lived in Florida for 24 years and I can tell you: Jacksonville is NOT a desireable destination.
    You add all that up, and expecting Huskers to travel to the game becomes a Homer Simpson-esqe “Doh!”

  • Brad Hall

    The listed capacity of Memorial Stadium is 87,091. The record attendance is 91,471 against UCLA last year which was a hot ticket. Actual attendance includes everyone in the stadium, players, referees, vendors etc. That means the extras account for about 4,400 per game and should have almost no variability. The lowest listed actual attendance last year was 90,466. Less the 4,400 extras means butts in the seats at some point in the game was 86,066 meaning that there were roughly 1,025 no shows. Had this writer even bothered to do this kind of math, it would show that his premise is complete BS. Instead he relied on prevalent advertising to try to cause a stir. Terrible journalism. However, I recognize it is silly season for college football writing.

    • Brandon Cavanaugh

      The lowest listed actual attendance last year was 90,466. Less the 4,400 extras means butts in the seats at some point in the game was 86,066 meaning that there were roughly 1,025 no shows

      So you would then agree that while the no shows aren’t overwhelming, they still exist? This would make the argument accurate considering the purchased vs. actually there.

  • Stacey McBride

    I dropped my season tickets after having them since 93. Pellini acts like a turd at times and his defense is too complicated to execute (or he cannot teach it). I’ll watch them on the B10 Network and save some cash.