Shama: U Basketball Ticket Sales Minimal

BleedGopher

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per Shama:

The University of Minnesota athletic department sold 138 new public season tickets for men’s basketball from March 23 through May 23 of this year. There are 64 new accounts for the 138 total.

The information was emailed to Sports Headliners following a request to the U regarding current and past totals for season tickets. The March 23 date was a day after Ben Johnson was named head coach.

During past weeks the media has consistently provided coverage of the new basketball leadership and the athletic department has been promoting season ticket appeals via mass emails. The department has also worked at publicizing Johnson, his new assistants and new players. But all of this has prompted minimal season ticket commitment, and that shouldn’t surprise those interested in the program.

The athletic department has a June 10 deadline for renewal of season tickets. In the days and weeks following the U will know whether the trend of recent years in declining sales will continue. The pandemic prevented fans from attending games last season but the three prior years the public season ticket totals were 5,944 (2019-2020), 6,155 and 6,524.

The season ticket base that remains is an older demographic that remembers the successful programs of coaches Bill Musselman, Jim Dutcher and Clem Haskins. Those ticket buyers have remained loyal and stayed through the 21st century failed eras of coaches Dan Monson, Tubby Smith and Pitino. Others have given up their tickets, discouraged by the product on the court and preferred seating fees.

Younger ticket buyers are in the minority at Williams Arena, a near 100-year-old facility loved by many but disparaged by others. Buying season tickets requires a commitment of time and money that many Minnesotans aren’t willing to make right now for Gophers basketball.


Go Gophers!!
 


UMwolverine

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I fit into that older demographic and don't plan on attending any live athletic events, plays, concerts or the like anytime soon. I'm sure many others are like me, and it has nothing to do with the quality of the product on the court or stage; it's all about avoiding crowds to avoid COVID.
 

bga1

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per Shama:

The University of Minnesota athletic department sold 138 new public season tickets for men’s basketball from March 23 through May 23 of this year. There are 64 new accounts for the 138 total.

The information was emailed to Sports Headliners following a request to the U regarding current and past totals for season tickets. The March 23 date was a day after Ben Johnson was named head coach.

During past weeks the media has consistently provided coverage of the new basketball leadership and the athletic department has been promoting season ticket appeals via mass emails. The department has also worked at publicizing Johnson, his new assistants and new players. But all of this has prompted minimal season ticket commitment, and that shouldn’t surprise those interested in the program.

The athletic department has a June 10 deadline for renewal of season tickets. In the days and weeks following the U will know whether the trend of recent years in declining sales will continue. The pandemic prevented fans from attending games last season but the three prior years the public season ticket totals were 5,944 (2019-2020), 6,155 and 6,524.

The season ticket base that remains is an older demographic that remembers the successful programs of coaches Bill Musselman, Jim Dutcher and Clem Haskins. Those ticket buyers have remained loyal and stayed through the 21st century failed eras of coaches Dan Monson, Tubby Smith and Pitino. Others have given up their tickets, discouraged by the product on the court and preferred seating fees.

Younger ticket buyers are in the minority at Williams Arena, a near 100-year-old facility loved by many but disparaged by others. Buying season tickets requires a commitment of time and money that many Minnesotans aren’t willing to make right now for Gophers basketball.


Go Gophers!!
I asked someone at the ticket office how they were doing a week ago. Right around 60% renewal and hoping for 90%...but action to get there was slow. I would guess that they end up with less than 5000 season tickets sold. Hopefully, this is the bottom.
 

Zeppelin Gopher

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I fit into that older demographic and don't plan on attending any live athletic events, plays, concerts or the like anytime soon. I'm sure many others are like me, and it has nothing to do with the quality of the product on the court or stage; it's all about avoiding crowds to avoid COVID.

Haha, enjoy your life at home. Sad
 



SanDiegoGopherFan

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I've been waiting for this data to come out. Was curious if BJs hire would spark any interest. I would think the first few home games at least they should get good crowds, but season tickets sales is probably the most important metric I'd imagine at the U.

Curious how this fits with the athletic departments forecast post BJ hire.
 

short ornery norwegian

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It's really a combination of factors:

relative lack of recent success....
questions about the direction of the program....
complaints about a generally weak non-conf schedule.....

but, IMHO, the biggest single factor is still the increase in "required donations" that rubbed a lot of the long-time season ticket holders the wrong way.

Couple that with 60" 4K HDTV sets at home, and it's harder to find reasons to attend games in person unless you are a real, true die-hard fan.

If the people running the U were smart, they would admit defeat and cut ticket prices, including the "donations."

you make no money from an empty seat. get people back in the building first, and then - maybe- if you have some success, you can talk about increasing prices at some point in the future.
 

UMwolverine

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Haha, enjoy your life at home. Sad
Not sad at all. I'm not hiding inside with the curtains drawn. I am enjoying life and don't mind saving the time and money watching games from the comfort of home. I do miss the roar of the crowd and the camaraderie that exist live, but thinking through the pluses and minuses, for me the minuses now outweigh the benefits. Attendance at basketball and football had already been declining before COVID, and I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking the added risk of COVID along with all the other hassles just make attending live events with large crowds unattractive.
Coach Johnson could put on the soundest, hardest working team in decades and eventually win a majority of games, but that alone will not fill the seats. There are too many other factors involved that he has no control over.
 



SanDiegoGopherFan

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Not sad at all. I'm not hiding inside with the curtains drawn. I am enjoying life and don't mind saving the time and money watching games from the comfort of home. I do miss the roar of the crowd and the camaraderie that exist live, but thinking through the pluses and minuses, for me the minuses now outweigh the benefits. Attendance at basketball and football had already been declining before COVID, and I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking the added risk of COVID along with all the other hassles just make attending live events with large crowds unattractive.
Coach Johnson could put on the soundest, hardest working team in decades and eventually win a majority of games, but that alone will not fill the seats. There are too many other factors involved that he has no control over.

Cater the experience inside the arena to the 21+ crowd if the attendance really stays an issues after a few years.

Add full bars, one on each end. Also add two lounge spaces with some games. Get some better food in there too. Not everyone that goes to the game wants to watch the whole time.

Make it enjoyable to bring ppl who might not be into basketball to go to Williams.
 

UpAndUnder43

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I have not renewed my tickets and do not plan on it. Sad but much cheaper and easier to just buy tickets when I want go instead of being obligated to watch that non-conference slate and trying to sell tickets I can't use.

75% renewal rate has it at 5000ish STHers with the new ones added? Plenty of space available for me to buy single games.
 

WoodburyTim

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The last two months I have seen dozens of articles on how the schools, coaches and athletes should split up the billions of dollars that college football and basketball generate. This problem seems to fixing itself.

Our problems with attendance and fan interest are more acute because of our turnover and lack of success, but these numbers and decline are nationwide. And before we all scream COVID, take a minute to look at other forms of entertainment coming out of the pandemic. Restaurants packed, concerts selling out in minutes. Pent up demand for in person entertainment all over the place.

The golden goose has been strangled and is fighting for breath.
 

SanDiegoGopherFan

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The last two months I have seen dozens of articles on how the schools, coaches and athletes should split up the billions of dollars that college football and basketball generate. This problem seems to fixing itself.

Our problems with attendance and fan interest are more acute because of our turnover and lack of success, but these numbers and decline are nationwide. And before we all scream COVID, take a minute to look at other forms of entertainment coming out of the pandemic. Restaurants packed, concerts selling out in minutes. Pent up demand for in person entertainment all over the place.

The golden goose has been strangled and is fighting for breath.

Exactly. Unless you're on of the few consistently winning programs or just have an insanely committed fan base, you have to make it either more affordable or make the experience inside more worthwhile aside from just watching the game.
 



UpAndUnder43

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Exactly. Unless you're on of the few consistently winning programs or just have an insanely committed fan base, you have to make it either more affordable or make the experience inside more worthwhile aside from just watching the game.
For me to go to a game in my current seats (had I renewed) with my wife is ~$90 for tickets. $10 for parking. 30 minute drive each way (minimum) and that doesn't account for beer, popcorn, etc. Not to mention the game experience is lacking.
 

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We may end up reducing our total tickets from 4 to 2 this year. Tickets have been in family since 70s. I have a feeling that there will be some upgrade opportunities for those remaining and also the opportunity to purchase decent seats your first year - if you take the plunge. (BTW if anyone is looking to become a long term part of our group and some awesome seats - PM me - we have a pair or partial-pair available)
 

umn99

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I will continue to be a STH with 2 tickets and look forward to watching the team this year and in the future under new leadership. However, I really do not like the game times. 6:00 p.m. starts in the middle of the week (and winter) can be difficult and 8:00 p.m. starts in the middle of the week (and winter) can be difficult. But that's a me problem living up in Maple Grove. I assume game times factor in for those that work normal business hours or come in from outstate MN and makes it difficult to justify season tickets. I will admit to ditching games knowing traffic is bad or weather is bad and watching it from the comfort of home. Plus, the minimal amount of weekend afternoon games. The price doesn't bother me although it has been quite expensive for the product that has been put out. I have expectations that changes (maybe not this year - but soon). The Barn is still my favorite place when it's rocking.

I agree on needing better food options. I know a lot of friends don't like the seats and think it's uncomfortable to be there for a few hours and would rather watch them play some directional Missouri school from home. I want them to keep the Barn, but upgrades would be nice.
 

bga1

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The last two months I have seen dozens of articles on how the schools, coaches and athletes should split up the billions of dollars that college football and basketball generate. This problem seems to fixing itself.

Our problems with attendance and fan interest are more acute because of our turnover and lack of success, but these numbers and decline are nationwide. And before we all scream COVID, take a minute to look at other forms of entertainment coming out of the pandemic. Restaurants packed, concerts selling out in minutes. Pent up demand for in person entertainment all over the place.

The golden goose has been strangled and is fighting for breath.
People are tired of college athletes acting like they are professionals and professional athletes acting like they are politicians. You are exactly right.
 

bga1

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I will continue to be a STH with 2 tickets and look forward to watching the team this year and in the future under new leadership. However, I really do not like the game times. 6:00 p.m. starts in the middle of the week (and winter) can be difficult and 8:00 p.m. starts in the middle of the week (and winter) can be difficult. But that's a me problem living up in Maple Grove. I assume game times factor in for those that work normal business hours or come in from outstate MN and makes it difficult to justify season tickets. I will admit to ditching games knowing traffic is bad or weather is bad and watching it from the comfort of home. Plus, the minimal amount of weekend afternoon games. The price doesn't bother me although it has been quite expensive for the product that has been put out. I have expectations that changes (maybe not this year - but soon). The Barn is still my favorite place when it's rocking.

I agree on needing better food options. I know a lot of friends don't like the seats and think it's uncomfortable to be there for a few hours and would rather watch them play some directional Missouri school from home. I want them to keep the Barn, but upgrades would be nice.
Parking will get easier....
 

LesBolstad

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I fit into that older demographic and don't plan on attending any live athletic events, plays, concerts or the like anytime soon. I'm sure many others are like me, and it has nothing to do with the quality of the product on the court or stage; it's all about avoiding crowds to avoid COVID.

Not a big science guy, eh?
 

SelectionSunday

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The last two months I have seen dozens of articles on how the schools, coaches and athletes should split up the billions of dollars that college football and basketball generate. This problem seems to fixing itself.

Our problems with attendance and fan interest are more acute because of our turnover and lack of success, but these numbers and decline are nationwide. And before we all scream COVID, take a minute to look at other forms of entertainment coming out of the pandemic. Restaurants packed, concerts selling out in minutes. Pent up demand for in person entertainment all over the place.

The golden goose has been strangled and is fighting for breath.
Spot on.
 

short ornery norwegian

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Of course, one of the issues for Hoops, as opposed to football, is the number of games.

Football is seen as more of an event - one game a week, usually on a Saturday, makes it easier for fans from outstate to attend.

For hoops, if you live any distance from the Cities, the weeknight games are an issue. For me, it would be a 5-hour round trip drive. Now, once I'm retired, I could see potentially coming up to the Cities and making a trip out of it - catch a game, do some shopping, see a concert, etc. But if you have a job or a fairly young family, it's a heck of a commitment to get season tickets.

Gopher basketball needs its core audience to come from the Twin Cities metro area - Mpls, St. Paul and the first-ring suburbs.
 

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My group had decided to give up our tickets for this upcoming season. It took the sad loss of one of us to keep going. Didn't seem right to end it after that. Talked another friend into joining. Hopefully there are some positives next season.
 



TheBarnyard

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It’s simple. Win and the barn will be full. I don’t care what anyone else says. We have a passionate fan base. Although it is aging, winning cures all.

I am excited to get back into my favorite venue this winter.
 

Ope3

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The last two months I have seen dozens of articles on how the schools, coaches and athletes should split up the billions of dollars that college football and basketball generate. This problem seems to fixing itself.

Our problems with attendance and fan interest are more acute because of our turnover and lack of success, but these numbers and decline are nationwide. And before we all scream COVID, take a minute to look at other forms of entertainment coming out of the pandemic. Restaurants packed, concerts selling out in minutes. Pent up demand for in person entertainment all over the place.

The golden goose has been strangled and is fighting for breath.

The pent up demand is not universal. Granted the Twins are struggling, but with school out they are not even half full (without any capacity limitations) for the biggest draw in MLB, the Yankees. St Paul Saints also are half full.
 


GoodasGold

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The pent up demand is not universal. Granted the Twins are struggling, but with school out they are not even half full (without any capacity limitations) for the biggest draw in MLB, the Yankees. St Paul Saints also are half full.
Perhaps only half-empty.
 

HitMeAgainIAmStillMoving

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We may end up reducing our total tickets from 4 to 2 this year. Tickets have been in family since 70s. I have a feeling that there will be some upgrade opportunities for those remaining and also the opportunity to purchase decent seats your first year - if you take the plunge. (BTW if anyone is looking to become a long term part of our group and some awesome seats - PM me - we have a pair or partial-pair available)
Muss I suspect got you to buy in the 70's, Al Davis could explain what you need to do to sell tickets.
 

bga1

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Muss I suspect got you to buy in the 70's, Al Davis could explain what you need to do to sell tickets.
Muss's teams of the 70's are responsible for about half of all the ticket revenue since that time. Gopher basketball got injected into thousands of us during that period and hope of it's return always lingers.

That's why you go all in to get the best coach possible when you have the chance. It pays off. I hope Ben is that guy.
 




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