Some have been asking about where season ticket sales stand for the Aggie football team.
Well, I called the NMSU ticket office yesterday and got some answers. And, frankly, I'm impressed.
It seems like the school is expecting a rise in season ticket purchases this year. According to NMSU ticket manager Patrick Kennedy, the Aggies are on pace for a 95 to 98 percent renewal rate on the 7,300 season tickets sold last year. Kennedy also said that the box office has sold 800 season tickets to new buyers. In other words, it looks like there will be over 8,000 season ticket holders, and it's only late June.
Kennedy went back to the 2000 season, his first year at NMSU, and went over season ticket sales. They go as followed:
2009: Possibly over 8,000
That, to me, is a respectable climb when one considers that the program has not been successful. They haven't had a winning record. They've been through three coaches. Yet, season ticket sales are climbing.
A few reasons, in my opinion
1) Season tickets are dirt cheap and have been lowered. Not by much mind you. The 2006 and 2007 seasons saw NMSU charge $114 for its most expensive season ticket. This year, that same season ticket can be bought for $108 (other season ticket prices are $70, $50 and $42). In 2000, the most expensive season tickets at Aggie Memorial Stadium were $71 for five home games. The cheapest that year were $20.
2) I think the NMSU administration has done everything it can to sell tickets to football games. It has been an uphill battle, but certain people have been put in place at NMSU to try and wrap their arms around the issue of selling tickets. Promotions have been put in place, in some cases as a sense of desperation. Remember last year when tickets were sold for $2 apiece for the Aggies final home game against Louisiana Tech? Again, you're not going to find a cheaper ticket for a college football game anywhere in the country.
3) Entering the WAC has clearly helped. In the team's first year in the new conference, season ticket sales jumped to 5,000. Now, it's up to 8,000. The WAC is a better football conference than the Sun Belt with bowl-eligible teams coming into town on a regular basis, the occasional opportunity to see a Top-25 opponent and wide-open offenses throughout the league. More fans have come out since the school stepped up in leagues.
4) You gotta give DeWayne Walker and his coaching staff credit for this particular year. Kennedy was excited about the number of new season ticket holders at this stage of the summer. Walker stepped into a tough job. Simply speaking frankly, the community was down on the program, particularly during the second half of last season when Hal Mumme was on his way out of town. The team wasn't winning and selling tickets was becoming problematic. Walker has come in and has endeared himself to the community. I spoke with Mayfield High School offensive line coach Brian McCartney today, he was very impressed by the new Aggie coaching staff. The staff has come out and has made its presence be felt around the community and at the local high schools. Having new season ticket holders after last season, a lot of that is a reflection as to how the community has responded to Walker.
I will have a story on this in the next couple of days, just wanted to get it on the blog for some chatter.