Minnesota Offering All-Mobile Pass To Help Boost Football Attendance
The Univ. of Minnesota is offering a "new all-mobile 'Gopher Pass' that will allow fans to gain access to all seven home games" this upcoming football season for $199.96 -- an average of $28.56 per game, according to Michael Rand of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. The pass features a home slate that includes non-conference games against South Dakota State and Georgia Southern and a five-game conference slate against Illinois, Nebraska, Penn State, Maryland and Wisconsin. Passes must be purchased by Aug. 6, and there is “limited availability.” The school has not "reached TCF Bank Stadium’s 50,805 seat capacity for any game" since '15. Last year’s best crowd was 48,199 against Iowa. The average attendance in '18 was 37,915 -- just 75% of capacity and the lowest average since '92. Whether this moves the needle much "remains to be seen, but the pass is a more affordable full-season option than what is otherwise available" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 7/9).
PASSING THE TORCH: In Minneapolis, Sid Hartman notes UM President Eric Kaler's tenure "came to an end this week as Joan Gabel took over as the first female president in school history." Kaler said that Gabel is "starting in a much better position when it comes to facilities and fundraising than he did," but added that there are "still challenges ahead as revenue sports face big questions when it comes to attendance." Kaler: "There are always cost pressures. The amount of money needed to be competitive continues to grow, and [AD] Mark Coyle and others continue to work hard to generate the revenue to pay those expenses." He added, "The financial tension that is present in just about every athletic department across the country will be here for President Gabel. I know she has a high interest in athletics and I think will be a great leader for the university." Kaler noted the school's Athletes Village, which opened last year, was a "huge upgrade in facilities." Kaler did believe that last month's "decision to allow beer and wine sales in at Gophers games was a step in the right direction" in increasing attendance. Kaler: "It will again be an improvement in the fan experience and goes back to making the whole event more enjoyable for someone who chooses to come watch the Gophers play" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 7/9).