SBD/February 14, 2017/Colleges

Fresno State's Athletic Department Struggling To Build A Base Of Season-Ticket Holders

Fresno State's football ticket sales dropped by more than 3,000 in '16
Fresno State's athletic department is "struggling to entice younger fans to games and build a sustainable base of season-ticket sales that account for a significant portion of its revenue," according to Robert Kuwada of the FRESNO BEE. According to a survey done by the athletic department, 49% of football season-ticket holders are 56 and older, while 9% are 35 and younger. In basketball, 75% of season-ticket holders are 56 and older and 4% are 35 and younger. Those numbers "are not far out of line with national trends." However, Fresno State’s overall ticket sales have "dropped sharply the past five seasons, a disturbing trend for a department that for years counted gate receipts as its second-largest source of revenue behind university support." Fresno State sold 15,404 football season tickets in '16, compared to 18,432 in '15. It sold 3,809 in basketball, down from 3,970. The athletic department also has "struggled to get students into its venues." The average number of "student tickets distributed for football games last season was 1,730, down from 2,570 the previous year." University staff "tried to break through its challenges in the fall, offering a full menu of ticket options -- including a young alumni, family and three- and two-game mini-plans -- and rolling out a glossy marketing campaign." The school also "launched a blimp and had skydivers parachute into Bulldog Stadium." To attract more students to basketball games, there have been "giveaways ranging from a free parking pass for a semester to four $10,000 scholarships." Fresno State Senior Associate AD/External Relations Paul Ladwig said, "We’re going to keep trying things and see what connects" (FRESNO BEE, 2/12).
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