The benchmark for ticket sales and revenue is the most interesting aspect of the new contract with War Memorial. I wonder if it is obtainable. There are a number of variables that could work against it.
The opponent: Unlike LSU, Missouri fans do not travel well. Fayetteville is the closest SEC campus to fans in almost every part of Missouri. Even so, Missouri hasn’t come close to selling its ticket allotment in its two games at Arkansas, which is 7,500, as mandated by the SEC (it had low home attendance for Arkansas’ game in Columbia in 2016, too). Of course both of those games in Fayetteville included a bad team with a head coach in his final game at the school. By November it seems that Missouri fans have turned their attention elsewhere, at least from a ticket-buying perspective. That leads me to my next point.
The timing: Because Little Rock tickets are not sold as part of a season ticket package, a good number of tickets are sold in the two or three weeks leading up to the game. What if one or both of the teams are out of bowl contention by early November? The LSU game on Thanksgiving weekend typically sold out because one or both of the teams was in contention to win the division, but there were years when the Razorbacks were not good that there were a lot of unsold tickets for the LSU game. Everyone remembers the great games in 2002, 2006 and 2010, but those sandwiched relatively low attendances for games in 2004 and 2008. The 1996 LSU game was the lowest-attended game in Little Rock since Arkansas joined the SEC, with just more than 22,000.
The students: Arkansas’ student enrollment now is greater than 50 percent out of state. The Little Rock influence is nowhere near what it used to be on the UA campus - I’m talking the city, not War Memorial. Ninety percent of the student tickets for the Florida A&M game went unsold last year - basically two empty sections of the stadium. Part of that had to do with the opponent, but also the fact that fewer students are interested in driving three hours to attend a game in a city to which they have no ties, especially when they can watch it on TV. That is compounded on a holiday weekend. Will there be enough people interested in attending the Missouri game to buy up the unsold student tickets, as well as potentially thousands of unsold tickets from the opponent?
Kevin Crass, the War Memorial commission chairman, was on Bo’s show yesterday and said he was initially hesitant to have the ticket threshold for this game. Then he said, “The more I thought about, we’re going to sell 47,000 tickets to conference games. If we don’t, we shouldn’t have football games. It’s just that simple.”
I don’t think enough tickets will be sold. This will end all the debate and the games will end up where they belong on campus where a home game is really a home game. I live in central Arkansas I’d rather go to the hill to watch a game and look around. It’s beautiful in NW Arkansas and you can take the time to do a number of things on the trip. I like to go a day or two early to hunt or fish depending on the season. I go to Little Rock for my VA stuff and as quick as I’m done I make it a blue light special getting out of town.
Aren’t the students limited to 2000-2500 tickets for WMS? As to WMS tickets, they are still sold as a “season” ticket by themselves. I know I had to pay for mine when I paid my Fayetteville season tickets. I do agree with Mr. Crass, if they don’t sell 47,000, then we don’t need to pay there.
As to Mizzou fans, they didn’t travel down to ASU in very big numbers a few years ago. I know the ASU people were very disappointed in the crowd they brought.
I think its like 1500 to 2000 for students at WMS.
As for the demographics of the student body, while there are a lot more out-of-state kids attending UA now, the campus population has approximately doubled since when I was in school. So my guess is that there aren’t fewer Central Arkansas kids, but that they’re now outnumbered. I think the TV situation is a bigger issue, along with the increasing number of things for kids to do in their spare time that don’t involve sitting in a stadium for four hours.
TV issue is definitely one for the students, as well as they can drink and party in front of the tv compared to not being able to drink in the stadiums. Of course if that were an option it would only apply to those 21+.
I’m curious to see how it plays out. I haven’t seen a WMS game in years that had 47k bodies in the stadium, but maybe they sold the tickets, I don’t know.
Yeah, about 15,000 more students then when I was on the Hill, no doubt many more from Arkansas, and Central Arkansas. Back in my days we had dances and parties set up for after the games. I’m not sure I heard my kids mention anything from the LR games the past 8 years. Now, they have had parties in Dallas after the aTm game, although it hasn’t been to cheer lately.
The point is simple: If you live in NWA and want all the games in Fayetteville, you simply don’t buy LR tickets. I can see that happening. I’m not advocating it, but if you think that’s the best way to end this contract, that will be what some will do, especially if it’s not a part of a season ticket package.