Last year's 2-10 season hasn't shaken the faith of Kansas University football fans in second-year coach Mark Mangino.
"We're about 1,500 ahead of where we were at this time last year," KU director of marketing Lee Johnson said of 13,000 season tickets sold for the 2003 season. "I think they understand he's rebuilding a football program. I can't speak for coach Mangino, but that's not going to happen overnight."
KU sold a meager 19,418 season tickets in 2001, the Jayhawks' last season under former coach Terry Allen. Buoyed by Mangino's arrival in December 2001, Kansas sold 26,500 season passes last fall -- its highest total in more than 30 years and second-highest ever.
"It was a huge jump," Johnson said. "A lot of that was due to a concerted effort to promote the football program and the excitement around a new head coach."
Johnson would like to challenge the school record of 27,500 set in 1969 following KU's 1968 Orange Bowl season.
KU nearly is halfway there, and Johnson's office hasn't begun its big push. Schedule cards and billboards started popping up in May, but print ads won't appear in newspapers around the state until next month. More advertisements will appear on television and in movie theaters in July and August.
The Jayhawks play the first of seven home games Aug. 30 against Northwestern. Before that, Johnson and his staff will continue the grassroots approach they used last year -- hawking tickets in places like grocery stores, Kansas University Medical Center, Edwards Campus and new-student orientation.
"There were glimpses of what kind of team they can be and what coach Mangino is building it to be," said Johnson, a KU graduate. "I think people know that and look forward to seeing continued improvement."
Season-ticket prices went up because of the addition of a seventh home game, but the per-game price is similar to last year. The Family Zone remains one of the most affordable options, with two adult and two youth tickets for $125. Johnson said only about 200 of those 1,000 packages remained.
For information call 1-800-34-HAWKS.
|KU Season TicketsReserved - $182Faculty/Staff - $146Family Zone* - $125Recent grad (1999-2003) - $125Student combo - $125Student football - $35* Two adult and two youth tickets for first 1,000 families.Kansas Football 2003 ScheduleReserved seat price in parenthesesAug. 30 -- Northwestern ($30)Sept. 6 -- UNLV ($30)Sept. 13 -- at WyomingSept. 20 -- Jacksonville State ($30)Sept. 27 -- Missouri ($35)Oct. 11 -- at ColoradoOct. 18 -- Baylor ($30)Oct. 25 -- at Kansas StateNov. 1 -- at Texas A&MNov.; 8 -- Nebraska ($40)Nov. 15 -- at Oklahoma StateNov. 22 -- Iowa State ($30)|