Vols stall at 60,000 season tickets

The Volunteer waves the Power T flag at halftime during the Orange and White Game at Neyland Stadium Saturday, April 21, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, copyright © 2012

The Volunteer waves the Power T flag at halftime during the Orange and White Game at Neyland Stadium Saturday, April 21, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

In an ongoing and occasional series spurned by the department's nearly $4 million budget deficit for 2011-12, the News Sentinel is looking at revenues and expenses in the University of Tennessee's athletic department.

There will be empty seats Saturday when football returns to Neyland Stadium, which is no different from most other college stadiums around the country as the 2012 season cranks up.

University of Tennessee officials hope an enhanced game experience — and a winning team — will encourage fans to come back for more.

About 10,000 tickets remained for the Vols' 4 p.m. kickoff against Georgia State as of Tuesday afternoon. Tickets are $45-$48 for non-conference opponents.

A year ago, UT's home opener against Montana drew an announced attendance of 94,661.

Neyland Stadium's capacity is listed as 102,455. The most recent home opener to surpass 100,000 was 2007.

"It's just a different climate for ticket sales,'' said Chris Fuller, UT's senior associate athletic director for external relations, "even if you're watching the Olympics or a (New York) Yankees game.''

Of eight SEC home openers last weekend, only Mississippi State listed a capacity crowd (55,082).

Arkansas, LSU and Georgia came very close to capacity, at least on a tickets-sold basis.

Fuller said UT season-ticket sales are "right around 60,000," which hasn't changed much since mid-July, when mini-packs and individual tickets became available.

Tickets topped out at 63,000 out of a possible 72,500 last season.

"I'm always hoping to see a late spike,'' Fuller said, "but history will tell you once you break it up for individuals and mini-packs, your season-ticket sales are pretty much concluded.''

Fuller said this season's innovative mini-pack sales have been good. For the first time, fans were offered the option of including either Alabama or Florida — but not both — in a pack with any two other home games.

"It's been well received,'' Fuller said. "Some fans are motivated by the opponent, others are motivated by 'that's a better weekend for me.' ''

The restricted area for

ticket scalping goes into effect Saturday. Anyone selling tickets will have to remain across the street from the stadium, starting at Cumberland Avenue.

Fuller said the policy isn't aimed at fans attending the game with a couple of unused tickets to unload.

Rather, it's to provide a buffer from professional brokers for fans who already have tickets or want to buy them at the box office.

"It's not competition with our box office,'' Fuller said. "We've already sold the ticket (that a broker has for sale).

"What we're trying to address is the professionals who stalk the G-10 garage in basketball or post-up at Gate 21 in football.

"We've heard from our fans who say, 'I'm getting out of the car and I've got three guys pushing me for tickets.'

"If you still want that marketplace, it won't be hard to find. We just want a safe radius.''

Once inside the stadium, fans will find new 46-inch flat-screen TVs around the concourse and restroom improvements in some areas. Wireless capacity has been enhanced.

Fuller said UT has cut prices on several of its top-selling concessions. Thirsty fans will find a $3 bottle of water, down from $4 last year.

"Hopefully, our fans know we listened to them on our survey,'' Fuller said.

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Comments » 128

jobrando#216494 writes:

first

BigVolinCarolina writes:

Though season-tickets sales are trending downward across sports, in UT's case, tickets sales will increase when both of the following happen:

1. The Vols start regularly winning again! But, let's face it, us Vol fans aren't really happy with just a win, are we? If we're really honest, we have to soundly beat a team to feel good about the final score. Even in close wins or comfortable margins, we're always counting up the "points left on the field" without rarely doing the same for the opposing team.

2. Cost of season ticket prices start decreasing. Of course, if UT starts winning again, then the trend may start heading upward. Nonetheless, UT folks might consider dropping prices a little with the aim of filling up the stands. It can be done in such a way as to net the same amount of money as what they're currently getting, with the upside being greater concession sales and more fans enjoying the experience.

Just my 2 cents, and it may really be worth nothing more than that.

johnlg00 writes:

Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports had a long article online today about this same issue. Mike may have even borrowed some of his info. This is a growing problem for all of college sports. Some of the most storied programs of all time are having increasing difficulty filling all their seats, even if ticket sales remain fairly strong. The economy, the ever-increasing costs of tickets and travel, the vastly greater comfort and convenience of watching from home, and the impossibility of making every contest a compelling one all combine to depress the live attendance numbers more every year. Season-ticket buyers used to accept the fact that if they wanted to watch their highly-ranked team in its big games, they had to pay for the stinkers, too. Since there were few games on TV, they had no choice and the popular programs were operating in a seller's market. Those days are mostly gone, and there is no obvious solution in sight.

VOLtage writes:

If both UT and UF win this weekend I'd be surprised if there are empty seats for their game but if there is then there are some deep rooted problems in college football.

ambrown64 writes:

Its gotten so big. Maybe this helps with that, although attendance's loss is probably TV's gain. Me...I want to do the Vol Walk, see the "Salute to the Hill," see the Pride's pregame show. No box seat, either - I want to be in the middle of it. I pay the money and enjoy every bit of it, but boy, when I was a kid it was a lot different.

eb502us#225637 writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

BigVolinCarolina writes:

in response to eb502us#225637:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Might be one of the more insightful posts I've seen on here in a long time!

peerlessvolfan writes:

in response to eb502us#225637:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Good grief. I do believe your comment reveals all we need to know about how clueless you are.

lknvol writes:

Of course we had an additional handicap the past few years in Mike Hamilton, who did all he could to run off people who had bought tickets for years and gouging those who stayed. He has done more to ruin the program with his bad coaching choices and disregard for the fan than the economy ever did. It will take years to undo, if ever. It's just unfortunate timing that the economy has been in the tank as well. Maybe Hammy can get his corporate buddies or family to chip in and take up the slack. Or maybe he can buy up the unused parking spaces to use with all the free tickets Cheek gave him with his parachute! What a couple of fruitcakes to be in charge of a major athletic department!!

ynn#499261 writes:

Yeah, UT has finally priced itself out of the market. I had season tickets for 39 years only to be forced to contribute to keep them. Lady Vols the same. I still love the Vols but the greedy administrators have just thumbed their noses at the fans. Frankly, it's somehow poetic justice. Obviously many of us are fed up!

abnermc writes:

in response to peerlessvolfan:

Good grief. I do believe your comment reveals all we need to know about how clueless you are.

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

johnlg00 writes:

in response to eb502us#225637:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

OK, look, let's cool it on the political rhetoric. Does one have to pass some ideological test to be a Vol fan? How about a means test? Or a religious one? The great thing about sports is that they have always given people a way to transcend the cares of the everyday world, a way to bring people together who might rarely encounter each other in normal settings, a way to show that people don't have to agree on everything in order to have fun together. Do you really think all the Vols agree with each other on politics, or anything else for that matter? Don't you think they can put those other things aside to work for the greater good? If they can, why can't we? If not, then THAT is what is wrong with this country these days, and selling sports tickets has nothing to do with it.

10SE writes:

I will never understand how Mike Hamilton gets blamed for bad coaching choices? He hired a basketball coach who took our program to places it had never been before. He hired a football coach who keeps spitting out number 1 recruiting classes. Its not Hamilton's fault that Pearl couldn't tell the truth, or that Kiffin's dream job came open.
I'm not happy with the state of our program either, but I don't blame it on Hamilton.

gc_scvol writes:

in response to eb502us#225637:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

6/5/2007 Payroll Troll

kcbigorngX writes:

in response to abnermc:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

please refer 2 what jonnylg said

orange_eVOLution writes:

Just pack the house for the FLORIDA game! Nothing could be better than stomping those Gators and break that losing streak.

DO IT, VOLS!!

kcbigorngX writes:

Years ago , young fans could afford the gas money to drive halfway across the state and make a weekend road trip. This goes for young families , too.

Greed has forced the middle class to entertain themselves close to home.

It's no coincidence J. Jones built a billion dollar stadium, or that ol man Haslam bought an NFL team for one boy and a governors chair for the other.

TommyJack writes:

in response to eb502us#225637:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

***** 5 stahs, sir.

OrangePsyched writes:

When I was younger I didn't have the time to travel across state to watch the Vols in Neyland. Now that I'm somewhat old I have the time but don't have the means. I joke with my kids all the time that my one wish before I depart is to watch the team run through the T on the hill. If the economy ever turns and as the team gets better tickets will become short supply again.

VolGrad writes:

The one who resorts to name-calling is the one who has nothing of substance with which to retort.

Back to sports: Go Vols!!!

Orangeblood13 writes:

just keep winning, stay the course, business as usual, it will fill up

Voluvr writes:

Winning fixes everything. Our down time is 60,000...more than most.

Marco writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

farmdog (Inactive) writes:

in response to kiffinsux:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Pump the brakes there Nancy! You should suspend your reality for a bit and try to educate yourself before vomitting your blather all over this board.........Read more, write less.

Marco writes:

in response to TommyJack:

***** 5 stahs, sir.

Of course, we would never call one an idiot for rewarding the political party that gave us the second deepest recession in the history of our country with his vote. That deserves at least a five-star rating for utter lunacy.

OrangePsyched writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Volalumnus writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

MikeNPS writes:

I think season ticket sales are also hurt by the pathetic non-conference schedule. Who wants to be forced to make a contribution to UT, in addition to paying for the season tickets, when the schedule includes Georgia State, Akron and Troy. Most major conference teams now load their non-conference schedules with totally unattractive junior high-caliber opponents.

OrangePsyched writes:

in response to Volalumnus:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

LMAO!!!!

tennezz writes:

in response to Marco:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to eb502us#225637:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Watching all the clueless, lying idiots at the RNC last week helped too.

1volk-nowi-tall writes:

Got to start winning to give these folks some football to talk about.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to tennezz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to Sears_Woods_Return:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Look! Jeff has another new name already. What's this make, about 200?

TheStupidPolice writes:

in response to eb502us#225637:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

AMEN!

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

You don't even have to read his comments to know it's Jeffy. His screen names are a dead giveaway. Wow, Jeff. I'm impressed. You dug up Sears Woods' 98 yard kick-off return that sealed North Texas State's win in Neyland in 1975.

What will you do for your next Anti-Vol screen name? You better be working on it. You'll need it within the week, when you get banned once again.

TheStupidPolice writes:

in response to 10seVol85_Part_Deux:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Richmonds_Wannabe_Brother writes:

in response to Sears_Woods_Return:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Face it. You'll never get it right.

Snapshot writes:

in response to kiffinsux:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hmmm... I wonder which way you lean politically kiffinsux? Typical lib, they can't make sensible arguments so they call you names and disparage your heritage, but then they are the kinder more inclusive party, right?

keepitreal4vols writes:

Have I logged onto MSNBC by mistake?

VOL75ga writes:

My son and I will be there for the Florida game. I try to make one game a year. The economy could be better but the concern for me is the student loan debt I had to take out to get my son 3 years at UT. He’s now at Ga. Tech finishing up where in state is much cheaper. Out of state tuition is higher because in state taxes aren’t paid, or so I’m told. Doesn’t matter that our federal government gives money to the schools as well as sending a good part of our tax money to other countries.

volhome writes:

Seventeen years ago we got to move back home after years in FL, and my brother-in-law sold us an extra pair of season tickets. We bought those for over a decade, when we were displaced by the club seat shuffle. That's okay, because we got our own season tickets as close to where we sat before, but now with a thousand dollar annual donation. We also decided to get in and buy South End Zone club seats. And they were cancelled that build. So we decided to stick with it and buy seats at the Tennesse Club to be built outside of Thompson-Boling Arena. And they cancelled that build. We continued while they did construction that forced us to walk miles out of the way from the parking pass we qualified for. And finally were defeated when my company shipped us back down to FL. We will miss being at the games, but sometimes life wins. Especially when my university seemingly tag teams with my employer to see what it takes to shoo us away. It worked, and sadly, when we get to retire and move back home the years of donations and points we compiled will be long forgotten. We will remain loyal, but the will probably be loyal from the couch. Too bad and so sad, but still, we love ya, and Go Vols.

OldNumber7 writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

frblalack writes:

in response to OldNumber7:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That has happened to small businesses throughout the country! I feel your loss of discretionary income. As an independent, I for one don't like the government shoving this program down our collective throat!

Back to football, in these most recession-like times, empty seats in a stadium are not surprising. It's the economy. Period!

All Vols - Vol for Life - I Bleed Orange - Believe!!!

Classof72 writes:

The specific problem I remember is being shouted at by the Jumbotron. They rented it out for advertisers to shout generic distractions at me at the Vols game. I remember being disrupted by something like "the Pac 10 Highlight of the Week". I want to enjoy the spectacle, the bands, the fans, the Vols. I won't pay to have my enjoyment of the Vols game disrupted by a huge TV screen shouting commercials at me.

The idea that fans should pay $3 for WATER, for goodness sake, tells you how out of touch UTAD still is. They bought into the idea that selling status symbols to corporations was more profitable than just fans. The TV people and the shoe companies are quietly taking the programs over. For example, Tennessee is an "Adidas" school while Kentucky is a "Nike" school. Next thing you know, they'll outsource the games. Jerry Jones puts Bama v Michigan in his Texas palace. Maybe Haslam will move the Vols to Cleveland to be an opening act for the Browns.

It's academic, no pun intended, because I can't afford to go anymore, anyway. You don't need 100K seats to accomodate the people who count nowadays. 10K special corporate club seats will do just fine. I don't need to go to Knoxville to watch a big screen TV with commercials. I've got one in my living room, and I've got the mute button. They don't have a stadium full of fans because they act like they neither need nor want them.

HallowedHill writes:

Win and the fans will come.

Kitty70 writes:

in response to lknvol:

Of course we had an additional handicap the past few years in Mike Hamilton, who did all he could to run off people who had bought tickets for years and gouging those who stayed. He has done more to ruin the program with his bad coaching choices and disregard for the fan than the economy ever did. It will take years to undo, if ever. It's just unfortunate timing that the economy has been in the tank as well. Maybe Hammy can get his corporate buddies or family to chip in and take up the slack. Or maybe he can buy up the unused parking spaces to use with all the free tickets Cheek gave him with his parachute! What a couple of fruitcakes to be in charge of a major athletic department!!

I totally agree. In early fall 2010, Mike Hamilton put all the high school football fans in the 103 degree sun at the exhibition games. When fans tried to move from the sunny area to the cooler part of the staduim, the GESTAPO security guards got real belligerent and yelled at people to move back into the "designated" area. At least UT is rid of this scoundrel, but the image remains. The people of my party who were from out of town said that they had never been witness to such rudeness and ingratitude in years. UT used to command prices. Now the powers that be are talking out of the other side their mouths.

thevoice writes:

TN is one of the most obese states; Neyland Stadium has some of the most narrow seats. Perfect ingredients for a perfect storm to stay home. Chair backs may help.

Classof72 writes:

in response to Classof72:

The specific problem I remember is being shouted at by the Jumbotron. They rented it out for advertisers to shout generic distractions at me at the Vols game. I remember being disrupted by something like "the Pac 10 Highlight of the Week". I want to enjoy the spectacle, the bands, the fans, the Vols. I won't pay to have my enjoyment of the Vols game disrupted by a huge TV screen shouting commercials at me.

The idea that fans should pay $3 for WATER, for goodness sake, tells you how out of touch UTAD still is. They bought into the idea that selling status symbols to corporations was more profitable than just fans. The TV people and the shoe companies are quietly taking the programs over. For example, Tennessee is an "Adidas" school while Kentucky is a "Nike" school. Next thing you know, they'll outsource the games. Jerry Jones puts Bama v Michigan in his Texas palace. Maybe Haslam will move the Vols to Cleveland to be an opening act for the Browns.

It's academic, no pun intended, because I can't afford to go anymore, anyway. You don't need 100K seats to accomodate the people who count nowadays. 10K special corporate club seats will do just fine. I don't need to go to Knoxville to watch a big screen TV with commercials. I've got one in my living room, and I've got the mute button. They don't have a stadium full of fans because they act like they neither need nor want them.

Ooops. They already outsourced the game. I forgot. Vols v NC State in the Georgia Dome? Well, duh.

govolsn3 writes:

in response to MikeNPS:

I think season ticket sales are also hurt by the pathetic non-conference schedule. Who wants to be forced to make a contribution to UT, in addition to paying for the season tickets, when the schedule includes Georgia State, Akron and Troy. Most major conference teams now load their non-conference schedules with totally unattractive junior high-caliber opponents.

Absolutely correct. I refuse to spend $400 on a weekend to see them play GA STATE or anybody else like that. Now UNC or a OREGON game I would in a minutes notice. A SOUTHERN CAL game and I might remorgage the house for that ticket. To make me pay more for a water-downed schedule made me give up 35 years in the same seat, which by the way I kinda like getting mine off the streets cause it gives me a different look at every game and I save thousands of dollars doing it. GO VOLS VFL

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