Football’s 2-for-1 season tickets cheapest in Big Ten

Todd Zolecki

Gophers football games received a much needed boost in attendance last year when the men’s athletics department offered students two season tickets for $36.
Those involved in the decision were pleased with the results. Student season-ticket sales jumped from approximately 1,800 in 1994 to 6,100 in 1995. The department will offer the deal again this year, hoping to create an improved collegiate atmosphere at the Metrodome.
No other Big Ten school offers a 2-for-1 deal like Minnesota. Northwestern, fresh off its Rose Bowl appearance, charges students $20 for five home games. The Wildcats deal is the second lowest in the Big Ten.
Michigan charges students the most for season tickets at six games for $85. Penn State ($79 for six games) and Wisconsin ($72 for six games) rank behind Michigan.
Gophers marketing consultant Pat Forciea hopes the 2-for-1 offer will bring more students through the turnstiles during the 1996 season.
“It’s impossible to have a fun college football experience without college kids,” Forciea said. “And among the things we are thankful for last year was that so many kids came back and decided to be a part of Gophers football.”
Forciea hopes the Gophers can win back the respect of the student body, and that students will want to be a part of college football.
Students seemed to appreciate the price break last year, he said.
Amy Blum, a student season-ticket holder last year, said she will purchase tickets again this year because it’s such a great deal. But she would like to see an improved atmosphere during games.
“I think the games are pretty fun, but I don’t think they’re very collegelike,” she said. “We don’t have our own stadium on campus. I’m kind of bitter about that. But I think that they try really hard (to make it a college atmosphere).”
The Gophers performed customer research this winter with focus groups consisting of existing public season-ticket holders, student season-ticket holders and former season-ticket holders who decided not to buy tickets again.
Forciea said he learned a lot of things. First and foremost, the focus groups told the researchers they want a winning team. The Gophers were 3-8 last year and are 12-32 under coach Jim Wacker.
People also talked about experiencing what college football can really be like.
“Some schools who play on campus have some tremendous built-in advantages,” Forciea said. “Madison is a great example. It’s a lot of fun there. But sometimes I’m afraid we act like the Dome is in Minnetonka. It’s about a bowling ball throw away from the West Bank.”
Activities are planned on-campus and downtown Minneapolis for next year’s home games, Forciea said.
The new plaza at the Dome should help add atmosphere, as well as pregame concerts planned in conjunction with KQRS radio. Forciea said he’ll be working with campus bars and restaurants on promotional activities.
Forciea said events will be held Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
“You can’t have a successful college football experience unless the student body is apart of it,” Forciea said. “That’s why Gophers basketball and hockey are so much fun.”