Student season ticket sales up

More victories and new marketing initiatives have led to the increase.

Fans fill the stands for Minnesota's game against Middle Tennessee State at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday. The announced attendance for the game was 47,223.

Juliet Farmer

Fans fill the stands for Minnesota’s game against Middle Tennessee State at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday. The announced attendance for the game was 47,223.

Sam Kraemer

Since his hiring at Minnesota almost four years ago, head coach Jerry Kill has steadily improved the Gophers football program.

The team’s recent success, in addition to an increased marketing effort from the athletics department, has helped boost 2014 student ticket sales.

In 2012, a year after the Gophers finished with a 3-9 record, the department sold 43,765 student tickets. That was roughly 4,000 fewer than the previous year.

But after the team improved to 6-7 in 2012 and 8-5 last year, those numbers have increased by thousands.

Marketing efforts from the athletics department, like the Jerrysota student tailgate lot and the Brick by Brick weekly video series, have captured the attention of football-loving students.

As of Sept. 3, the University had sold 49,816 student tickets for the 2014 season.

Associate athletics director for strategic communications Chris Werle said the marketing department has placed more focus on social media engagement in recent years.

“We’ve tried to make it easier for students to share their experiences, whether they’re tailgating or in the game,” Werle said.

This year, the tailgate lot features a DJ, Frisbee and bean bag tailgate games, smells of charcoal and enthusiasm for Gophers football.

“The environment with things like this [Jerrysota lot] make it seem like a Big Ten football game,” senior neuroscience major Kristen Kraimer said.

Theater and communications senior Katie O’Neill said she bought student football tickets for the first time this year.

“I hadn’t heard great things about the games, and the team wasn’t doing so well my first three years,” O’Neill said.

She said she decided to buy the tickets because of the improved experience.

“People said last year that the games were a lot more fun, and they’re doing a lot better with the marketing,” O’Neill said.

Neuroscience senior Tyler Tschumperlin said he is a fan of the Jerrysota lot.

“I think it enriches the experience,” he said. “It’s better than before when we were at the [Metrodome] when no one could tailgate.”

But for many students, buying tickets is a decision mainly tied to the team’s performance.

“The team’s progressively getting better each year. Especially after last year, it wasn’t even a doubt this year,” conservation biology senior Kyle Pagel said.