UT men's basketball season tickets slightly down

No plans to dust off black curtains at Thompson-Boling

How former UT coaches fared in attendance their first season

Season Coach Avg. Home Att. Nat'l Rank

2005-06 Bruce Pearl 17,954 5th

2001-02 Buzz Peterson 14,230 16th

1997-98 Jerry Green 15,372 10th

1994-95 Kevin O'Neill 14,882 13th

1989-90 Wade Houston 17,524 7th

1978-79 Don DeVoe 12,083 17th

1977-78 Cliff Wettig 12,385 13th

Season-ticket sales for Tennessee men's basketball games are down, but not to the point of dusting off the black curtains once used to hide vacant upper-level seats.

Doug Kose, UT's assistant athletic director for marketing and sales, said the Vols have sold 13,030 season tickets through Wednesday, 11.3 percent down from last season's final total of 14,687.

"Compared to last year, we're down a little bit,'' Kose said. "But we're not going to apologize for the number we're at; we're excited about it. We still have time to add to that amount.''

Tennessee drew an average of 18,952 per game at Thompson-Boling Arena last season, which ranked fifth in the nation.

Kose pointed out UT's current season-ticket sales represent a larger number than many arenas hold. The Vols' current total would sell out SEC arenas at Ole Miss (capacity 9,061), Auburn (9,121), Mississippi State (10,500), Georgia (10,523) and Florida (12,000).

Even if the Vols don't sell another season or walk-up ticket, the 13,030 in guaranteed paid attendance would rank 25th nationally based on last season's numbers.

UT coach Cuonzo Martin said Thompson-Boling Arena (capacity 21,678) was one of the things that appealed to him before he accepted the job on March 27.

"I know firsthand that Thompson-Boling Arena has been a tremendously tough place to play,'' said Martin, who coached Missouri State in a 60-56 loss in Knoxville on Nov. 17 last season. "Our players will tell you that Tennessee fans have a direct impact on each and every game, because they feed off the energy of the crowd.

"The proof is in the pudding, when you look at some of the teams who came here favored to win but went home with a loss.''

Indeed, UT men's basketball was the last varsity revenue sport to defeat a No. 1-ranked team in Knoxville, topping then-No. 1 Kansas, 76-68, Jan. 10, 2010.

The Vols have posted winning home marks each of the past 16 seasons, going 203-52 (.796) during that span. Last season's 10-8 home record was the worst since 1994-95, which also was the only time UT had a losing record in the 25-year history of Thompson-Boling Arena.

This season's rugged home schedule, which includes traditional Big East powers Pittsburgh and Connecticut in addition to top 15 SEC Eastern Division foes Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Florida, will present a challenge.

But it also presents a marketing opportunity.

Kose said UT's recently unveiled "Big Game Pack" has been met with enthusiasm since being made available to the public on Monday.

"The Big Game Pack, which are 300 (upper) level seats, includes the games with Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Florida, Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Georgia,'' Kose said. "It goes for $90 for a ticket to all of those games, and we've sold 565 of them so far — over 200 since they were made available to the public.

"We'll push some promotions around other single games.''

Tennessee ranked in the top five nationally in attendance all six years of the tenure of previous coach Bruce Pearl and has only ranked outside the nation's top 20 twice (1993-94, 22nd and 2003-04, 21st) since Thompson-Boling Arena opened in 1987-88.

Kose believes UT fans will take a liking to Martin's aggressive style immediately, and Martin has said nothing that would indicate otherwise.

"Opponents know it's going to be 40 extremely tough and intense minutes when you come to play in Knoxville,'' Martin said. "And with the effort and style of play we're going to demand from our players, I don't expect the crowd support to be any different than it has been in the past.

"It fires me up just thinking about it.''

Kose said UT has lower-level season tickets available behind the baskets. The lower-level season tickets require a minimum donation of $2,500 (which also can be used toward women's basketball and football, and include the right to purchase preferred parking), and cost an additional $440 per ticket or $360 for UT faculty.

Upper-level season tickets cost $180 each (faculty $144) and do not require a donation.

Mike Griffith covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him at http://twitter.com/MikeGriffith32

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Comments » 54

alfrizzle097 writes:

Shame to hear sales are down. Won't be able to afford tickets this year, but I fully plan to have my butt planted in front of the tv for every game possible.

Hopefully they can steal a big game early and generate enthusiasm like that win over Texas in Pearl's first year.

tulelakevol writes:

I am mixed right now, really liked Pearl, not the lying, which was incredibly stupid, but he has paid up in my opinion. I am a Vol fan thru and thru, and hope Martin can have these guys believing and ready to play. Until I see his product on the floor I am not going to buy or say anything.

UTbassdrummer writes:

I WILL BE THERE. Let's go, folks.

RockyToptoNeyland writes:

there's some shocking news

ZTaylor writes:

Sorry, not excited about the new product.

underthehill writes:

With the economy as it is and the popular Pearl leaving..it could be much worse...Vol fans again are proving to be TN strongest asset...

ProfessionalHandicapper writes:

The economy must be better in Nashville as Vandy has sold out for the fifth straight year. Maybe its the fact Vandy was number two in comnbined wins last year in the SEC with 80 wins, trailing only Florida. (basketball,baseball,football). UT could manage only 56 combined wins. Maybe its not the economy, just maybe it's the lack of winning that turns fans off.

sly_stone99#434111 writes:

AND?

underthehill writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

The economy must be better in Nashville as Vandy has sold out for the fifth straight year. Maybe its the fact Vandy was number two in comnbined wins last year in the SEC with 80 wins, trailing only Florida. (basketball,baseball,football). UT could manage only 56 combined wins. Maybe its not the economy, just maybe it's the lack of winning that turns fans off.

How many tickets is a Vandy sell out in basketball? How many in football? I am not one to put down Vandy and think it is tougher for them to be as successful as they are with their higher education standards and limited athletic facilities..but UT does have much larger spaces to fill and their fans are their greatest asset..what other fans would tolerate the UT administration and continue to back their teams?

underthehill writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

The economy must be better in Nashville as Vandy has sold out for the fifth straight year. Maybe its the fact Vandy was number two in comnbined wins last year in the SEC with 80 wins, trailing only Florida. (basketball,baseball,football). UT could manage only 56 combined wins. Maybe its not the economy, just maybe it's the lack of winning that turns fans off.

On another subject..what would your current spread be on LSU-Auburn?

lomas98 writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

The economy must be better in Nashville as Vandy has sold out for the fifth straight year. Maybe its the fact Vandy was number two in comnbined wins last year in the SEC with 80 wins, trailing only Florida. (basketball,baseball,football). UT could manage only 56 combined wins. Maybe its not the economy, just maybe it's the lack of winning that turns fans off.

And 3 of those combined wins came against vandy in basketball and football, the sports that count. Maybe vandy can get by that double digit seed this year in the NCAA. Shouldn't stallings be fired for underachieving with all that talent?

brod writes:

it's not just the coaching change, it's a drop in talent that has people less excited about the program. people are still interested in the team. they're just not interested in spending a lot of money on a team with so many new faces.

underthehill writes:

in response to brod:

it's not just the coaching change, it's a drop in talent that has people less excited about the program. people are still interested in the team. they're just not interested in spending a lot of money on a team with so many new faces.

Has to be part of it ..Last year's team was more talented than they were focused toward the end..much better than they showed in the NCAA..

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

The economy must be better in Nashville as Vandy has sold out for the fifth straight year. Maybe its the fact Vandy was number two in comnbined wins last year in the SEC with 80 wins, trailing only Florida. (basketball,baseball,football). UT could manage only 56 combined wins. Maybe its not the economy, just maybe it's the lack of winning that turns fans off.

Um. . .maybe they sell out for Basketball. . .they certianly don't for football. Vandy's stadium looks like a Sun Belt Stadium on most gamedays, maybe the Liberty Bowl, in that it's really really empty.

westknoxrepub writes:

Geez, what a surprise, hire a guy who isn't interested in selling the program, and you wonder why ticket sales are down. It's just a matter of time before the black curtians come back. Welcome to another 26 years of Tennessee Basketball not mattering, not being on TV and playing in front of nobody.

Ironcity writes:

in response to ZTaylor:

Sorry, not excited about the new product.

When have you seen the new product? Not saying we have to give them a chance but your statement pretty much says your bandwagon fan rather then a true fan.

Ironcity writes:

Personally I think they have done pretty good all things considered. You lose 4 starters, the most personable coach in UT history and you go through a sticky NCAA review. Its going to effect the product as well as the fans excitement. If the team plays well the fans will be back. Knoxville is desperate for good sports and right now their doesn't appear to be any on the mens side.

underthehill writes:

I think ticket sales are amazing all things considered..and I think it is a huge credit to the fan base..

sly_stone99#434111 writes:

in response to underthehill:

Has to be part of it ..Last year's team was more talented than they were focused toward the end..much better than they showed in the NCAA..

Good points as there are no Tobias & Scotty replacements on this team. I believe they will play hard and tough, but when faced against true talent it will show. I'm more concern about this team learning the motion offense. I think the learning curve there may take sometime. Are fans patient enough to let them jell?

born2ride writes:

Just wait until after all the losses this year. The stands will be half empty.

thesharc#228787 writes:

I think Vandy is an easier sell this year than UT b/c they are nationally ranked and have loftier expectations. Right now Vandy athletics is at a crest... while they are an SEC school, comparing them to the Vols in sports isn't apples to oranges. UT facilities dwarf Vandy in everything. It is what it is.

I'm intrigued by this year's BasketVol team but I don't expect much against that schedule. Living in ATL I try to make it up to at least two games. Before Pearl I hadn't been to a game in ten years.

samvol writes:

I have my tickets and cant wait for the season!!!

GO Vols!!!
GoZO!!!

D60 writes:

They'll be paying the fans to come and watch in January

ewhite#207432 writes:

Living in Nashville, there is no doubt vandy athletics is on the move. vandy is winning more games in basketball and baseball than UT and I will not be surprised if they upset UT in football this year. I hope better days are ahead. The name of the game is recruiting and Martin is going to have to step it up if he is going to be successful.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to ewhite#207432:

Living in Nashville, there is no doubt vandy athletics is on the move. vandy is winning more games in basketball and baseball than UT and I will not be surprised if they upset UT in football this year. I hope better days are ahead. The name of the game is recruiting and Martin is going to have to step it up if he is going to be successful.

Our fanbase doesn't want 4 or 5 star guys, they thing 2 star guys nobody else is recruiting will be good enough to cut it in the SEC. The bulk of our fanbase wanted to give Buzz another year.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to ewhite#207432:

Living in Nashville, there is no doubt vandy athletics is on the move. vandy is winning more games in basketball and baseball than UT and I will not be surprised if they upset UT in football this year. I hope better days are ahead. The name of the game is recruiting and Martin is going to have to step it up if he is going to be successful.

Our fanbase doesn't want 4 or 5 star guys, they think 2 star guys nobody else is recruiting will be good enough to cut it in the SEC. The bulk of our fanbase wanted to give Buzz another year.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to Ironcity:

Personally I think they have done pretty good all things considered. You lose 4 starters, the most personable coach in UT history and you go through a sticky NCAA review. Its going to effect the product as well as the fans excitement. If the team plays well the fans will be back. Knoxville is desperate for good sports and right now their doesn't appear to be any on the mens side.

Exactly! Except I think men's sports is still pretty good...just not up to standards. Dooley needs at least 3 more years to pull it up and Martin I'd say about 2 or maybe 3. Meanwhile we will still have some fun watching. Martin may do it with what he has as it doesn't take as long I suppose in bball.
I'm really excited that it's not further down in sales for bball. Plus I can't wait to see it all on TV.
btw didn't we have some pretty good recruits for baseball?

chrisw2967 writes:

in response to D60:

They'll be paying the fans to come and watch in January

I bet you knew when they hired Pearl that he was going to suck his first year to huh?
Martin has more talent his first year than Pearl had his first year.
band wagon fans are the most pathetic kind.

chrisw2967 writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

Our fanbase doesn't want 4 or 5 star guys, they think 2 star guys nobody else is recruiting will be good enough to cut it in the SEC. The bulk of our fanbase wanted to give Buzz another year.

Keep showing your ignorance.It wasnt like there was 4 and 5* stars left on the board when Martin was hired.If so name me just 1.
Who was out there that was going to commit to tn before they even went in front of the AA.
Hey you can always go find another team to root for.

dvols writes:

fire dave hart.....

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to CroatianVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

How many people said Houston, O'Neal and Peterson were good hires? I think it was a Hamilton bargain basement special, and there were better options out there. If you really think we're going 11-5 in conference play you've got another thing coming. We're at best, 5th in the East or did you forget about Kentucky, Florida, Vanderbilt and Georgia? Plus Alabama and Mississippi State will probably beat us from the West, so overall we're 7th in the SEC. We'll be lucky to be .500.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to chrisw2967:

Keep showing your ignorance.It wasnt like there was 4 and 5* stars left on the board when Martin was hired.If so name me just 1.
Who was out there that was going to commit to tn before they even went in front of the AA.
Hey you can always go find another team to root for.

Celarly reading comprehension isn't a strongpoint. Read the post again, I was talking about our fanbase, who get on here and talk about not needing 4 or 5 star recruits. There was a grand total of 1 available, and I don't hold that against Martin, this years recruiting class is looking very sub par and is cause for concern. However, our fans, who proclaim the virtues of getting the 2 or 3 star players not being recruited by other schools on our level, will sit and wonder why we aren't winning with inferior talent.

jandjhome#228397 writes:

BB is on the way. (Boring Basketball)

aidensgrandpa#442215 writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

Our fanbase doesn't want 4 or 5 star guys, they thing 2 star guys nobody else is recruiting will be good enough to cut it in the SEC. The bulk of our fanbase wanted to give Buzz another year.

Westknoxrep: Are you a UT fan or a fan of some other team. Sounds like the latter and you are just a troll seeking attention. I take it you think that Martin should have recruited and gotten 4 and 5 star players to play this year. If you do than you are a fool of the first order. Look at the date that Martin came in as coach. There were none of those 4 and 5 star players around for him to recruit. Now where is that ignore button. Grandpa

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to aidensgrandpa#442215:

Westknoxrep: Are you a UT fan or a fan of some other team. Sounds like the latter and you are just a troll seeking attention. I take it you think that Martin should have recruited and gotten 4 and 5 star players to play this year. If you do than you are a fool of the first order. Look at the date that Martin came in as coach. There were none of those 4 and 5 star players around for him to recruit. Now where is that ignore button. Grandpa

You too seem to have problems with reading comprehension. My comment was directed toward our basketball fanbase, who will say we don't need the 4 or 5 star then wonder why we don't win and can't compete for SEC Titles. That's what they did during the Buzz Peterson era and it's what they'll do if Martin doesn't step up his recruiting game.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to ewhite#207432:

Living in Nashville, there is no doubt vandy athletics is on the move. vandy is winning more games in basketball and baseball than UT and I will not be surprised if they upset UT in football this year. I hope better days are ahead. The name of the game is recruiting and Martin is going to have to step it up if he is going to be successful.

Not a bad post for a Vandy dude. I really don't think you're near ready to beat us in football...Martin's done a heck of a job so far in recruiting I think. The talent he came up with plus the returns at least will be entertaining. We'll be tough at home still and may take a few tough ones on the road. We'll see. Vandy's always overrated in bball. Although you do have the talent. I do admit to liking Vandy...3rd-5th on my list depending on how well their chances look time tourney. UT, Georgia, Vandy would be my next hope if they're looking good. So not everyone on here is Vandy haters. I just prefer UT.

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

The truth is, no one really knows how this team's going to do. If I could, I'd get some tickets. Sounds like Cuonzo has a plan, and hopefully it'll pan out and get us a lot of W's. Again, though, just as with Football, we have to show a little patience before we call for his head.

kyvol98 writes:

I stand behind CCM 100%, but it will be tough. Of the top 11 in the Coaches Poll, 10 of our games are against them.

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid:

The truth is, no one really knows how this team's going to do. If I could, I'd get some tickets. Sounds like Cuonzo has a plan, and hopefully it'll pan out and get us a lot of W's. Again, though, just as with Football, we have to show a little patience before we call for his head.

Sounds good, but our fans DO NOT HAVE PATIENCE..They want instant gratification when that is not always possible..I,for one, am patient so I will give Coach Zo a chance, just like I gave Pearl a chance..That worked out pretty well except for the NCAA stuff..There were doubts about how well he would handle a job at a major school like UT and did ok and he had less to work with than Zo has now,meaning he didn't have the 4* players on the bench like Hall,Tatum,Maymon,etc.

Smokey says he looks forward to bball season even w/o Pearl...

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog:

Sounds good, but our fans DO NOT HAVE PATIENCE..They want instant gratification when that is not always possible..I,for one, am patient so I will give Coach Zo a chance, just like I gave Pearl a chance..That worked out pretty well except for the NCAA stuff..There were doubts about how well he would handle a job at a major school like UT and did ok and he had less to work with than Zo has now,meaning he didn't have the 4* players on the bench like Hall,Tatum,Maymon,etc.

Smokey says he looks forward to bball season even w/o Pearl...

Patience would be afforded if we hadn't just fired a coach who had gone to the NCAA tournament six years in a row. Pearl wasn't fired because he had problems winning, and if Martin doesn't win, it will be perceived (rightly or wrongly) as a stupid move to fire Pearl. The calibur of recruits he got in his first class can be excused, but his second class isn't looking all that great. (We have one three star committment) I guess the good thing about all this is that maybe our fanbase will be a little more demanding than in the past (which is why Wade got five years and Buzz got four) and if Martin's recruiting doesn't step up and it's apparent he's not working out, we don't prolong the inevitable. The bad news is if Martin doesn't work out, it may take 20+ years to get basketball where it was when Pearl was here. Laugh at that all you want to, but I'm sure people would have laughed if you'd said that when Mears left.

Chris4Vols22 writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

Our fanbase doesn't want 4 or 5 star guys, they think 2 star guys nobody else is recruiting will be good enough to cut it in the SEC. The bulk of our fanbase wanted to give Buzz another year.

You're absolutely pathetic.

born2ride writes:

Jerry Green won at UT but it was not enough and the fans wanted him fired. Martin is not going to win many games with the players he recruited. If we are competitive this year it is because of the Pearl leftovers. They are our best players. If we hold Martin to the same standards as Green and Peterson he will not be coaching here long.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

Of course the better players are Pearl leftovers. What does that mean? I don't think Vandy has 4 and 5 * players and they are ranked top 10. Coaching is more important than the stars.

Katphan29 writes:

That's OK - we'll fill your arena when the Big Blue Nation comes to town.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to Chris4Vols22:

You're absolutely pathetic.

What about my statement do you disagree with?

underthehill writes:

in response to jhayes0926#638474:

Of course the better players are Pearl leftovers. What does that mean? I don't think Vandy has 4 and 5 * players and they are ranked top 10. Coaching is more important than the stars.

Stallings does a good job recruiting potential and keeping them around long enough to develop..he always seems to have a veteran club and sprinkles in a few young guys until they come around..I don't think Jenkins was 4 or 5* but he is an amazing scorer..put about thirty something on Kentucky last year...Looks to me like Martin has in mind doing about the same as Stallings...

brod writes:

westknox, go clean your walls or something. the sun did come up today.

ewhite#207432 writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

Not a bad post for a Vandy dude. I really don't think you're near ready to beat us in football...Martin's done a heck of a job so far in recruiting I think. The talent he came up with plus the returns at least will be entertaining. We'll be tough at home still and may take a few tough ones on the road. We'll see. Vandy's always overrated in bball. Although you do have the talent. I do admit to liking Vandy...3rd-5th on my list depending on how well their chances look time tourney. UT, Georgia, Vandy would be my next hope if they're looking good. So not everyone on here is Vandy haters. I just prefer UT.

Never have been a vandy fan, not a vandy fan now, and never will be a vandy fan......

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to brod:

westknox, go clean your walls or something. the sun did come up today.

Way to refute anything I said.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to CroatianVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Wow! I DO consider myself a Martin fan based on what I have heard so far, but 11-5 in the conference would be an OUTSTANDING year by almost any measure, a cinch lock for the NCAA tournament. I don't agree with all the gloom-and-doom being spouted by some of our so-called fans, but I surely hope people won't consider a conference record of 11-5 the mark Martin has to hit to gain and/or keep the confidence of the fan base and administration.

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