Gophers success means maroon and gold in the bank for U

Branden Peterson

Maroon-and-gold fever struck many last week as they waited for Friday night’s football game between the Gophers and the Michigan Wolverines.

Through clothing and ticket sales, the University Bookstores and athletics department are able to reap financial benefit from Gophers fans.

Next to the fall rush, last week was one of the busiest times for Gophers clothing sales this year, said University Bookstores director Bob Crabb.

Even before last week, clothing sales have been twice as strong as last year, he said.

“We figured we would do well, but not this well,” Crabb said Friday.

Merchants selling Gophers-related goods are not the only ones benefiting from increased sales. The athletics department is also reaping a financial reward.

Athletics Director Joel Maturi said the cash infusion into the department through extra ticket sales is a big help.

“It’s huge. You can’t put it into words,” Maturi said.

Crowds at the past three home games this season averaged about 30,000, but Friday’s game attracted 62,374 crowd members.

The University banked an unexpected financial boost to the athletics department’s $47 million budget.

With the average Gophers ticket in the Metrodome around $25, the additional 12,374 fans would increase money from ticket sales by more than $300,000.

The University shares a portion of game revenues with the Metrodome and the Big Ten.

Profits from football provide 30 percent of the department’s budget, University officials said before the season started.

Concessions and souvenirs also add to the game revenue.

“This is what’s needed to happen,” Maturi said.

First-year student Tina Dickenson said she was not used to having a full stadium packed with Gophers fans.

She said she normally leaves at halftime, but this time “it was a lot more exciting.”