Football season ticket sales up

Loyalty and the potential for priority seating in TCF Bank Stadium played a role in the increase

Despite last yearâÄôs losing record, football season ticket sales have increased by about 5 percent for the GophersâÄô final year in the Metrodome. There are about 3,000 new ticket holders this year, bringing the total close to 29,000, said Jason LaFrenz, assistant athletics director for marketing and ticket sales. Those who have bought season tickets for consecutive years will have top priority seating in the new stadium, according to the new Gopher Points system. The Gopher Points system, which will allocate seating in the new stadium, has been well received, LaFrenz said. ItâÄôs based on rewarding ticket holders for their financial support, loyalty and relationship to the University. About 5,000 tickets, each guaranteeing a seat in the new stadium, are still available. Nine out of the 11 Big Ten football programs use systems similar to Gopher Points, but there are some critics. William R. Kennedy, a University neurology professor, renewed his tickets for the 46th consecutive year. âÄúI resent the total amount going up in double the price,âÄù Kennedy said, referring to the cost of season tickets in the new stadium. He has been sitting on the 48-yard line every year since the Gophers played in Memorial Stadium. To sit in that general area at the new TCF Bank stadium, he would have to pay a $500 premium on top of his ticket price, Kennedy said. He wrote a letter to Athletics Director Joel Maturi expressing his disappointment. On top of the 29,000 season tickets that have already been sold, the University expects to sell about 10,000 more to students. Season tickets for students were $70 this year, while the cost for season tickets for the general public was $250. LaFrenz said heâÄôs impressed by the loyalty of Gopher fans. Although the team finished 1-11 last year, there has been a 95 percent renewal rate for season tickets. âÄúWe are always over 90 percent,âÄù he said. âÄúWin or lose, itâÄôs always very impressive.âÄù Sophomore Zach Voll said last seasonâÄôs performance didnâÄôt stop him from getting tickets again. The atmosphere of the new stadium will be a boost for Minnesota, he said. âÄúHopefully we can build a better program these next few years,âÄù Voll said. âÄúAnd when Wisconsin comes next time, weâÄôll have more fans than them.âÄù More than 44,000 people attended the season opener Saturday night to see the Gophers beat Northern Illinois University, but many University students received free tickets as a part of Welcome Week activities.