Apparently, a dismal economic climate isn’t enough to dampen anticipation for the upcoming Kansas University football season.
Despite the more frugal nature of the current American consumer, KU associate athletic director Jim Marchiony said Friday that the university had sold approximately 35,000 season ticket packages as of last week, roughly 1,000 more that it had sold at a similar point last summer and 4,000 more than the team sold total in 2007.
“I think that we are fortunate in the sense that Kansas football has a very, very loyal following, and they’ve come to expect good, solid football from this coaching staff and players,” said Marchiony. “And what we’ve heard is that they’re really very excited about the 2009 season.”
Last season, which followed the Jayhawks’ first-ever BCS bowl appearance, the university sold north of 38,000 season ticket packages — the most in program history. It marked the fourth consecutive year that the school had set a season-ticket sales record, and — if this summer’s pace continues — there’s a chance 2009 will result in another milestone figure.
It hasn’t been lost on fans, surely, that this year’s Kansas team returns its most talented senior class in decades, led by a quarterback — Todd Reesing — who in just two full seasons has broken nearly every school passing record. Nor has a catchy advertising campaign (“History Awaits”) that figures to become a bit more prominent as the season approaches.
“We have carried on an advertising campaign for quite some time now,” Marchiony said. “And we’ll elevate it somewhat now that people are, for the most part, back from vacations (and) thinking about football.”
The goal, Marchiony said, is to surpass last year’s record-setting season-ticket sales total. And with home games scheduled against Big 12 North rival Nebraska and 2008 national runner-up Oklahoma — as well as non-conference games against Southern Mississippi and Duke — the hope is that it will.
“That’s always our goal, to sell more tickets than we did the previous year, and we’re doing everything we can to make that happen,” he said. “The team has done its part by developing into a consistent winner, so that helps.”
l KU to sell season-long ‘seat-backs’ in ’09: In addition to the end zone seating, which will return after its debut last season, KU will be offering permanent seat-backs at football games for the first time this fall. The seat-backs, which would be attached onto the bleachers for the duration of the season, will cost $36 — or $6 per game as the Jayhawks will play six times at Memorial Stadium this year.
Fans can rent the seat-backs on a game-to-game basis, meanwhile, at a cost of $10 a game.
“We’ve always had single-game availability, but this will be the first time we’ll do it for a full season,” Marchiony said. “What happens is the company would clean the seats every week and so the season-ticket holders don’t have to deal with that before and after the game.”
l Mangino radio show to be moved downtown: “Hawk Talk with Mark Mangino” is going Wild.
The KU football coach’s weekly radio show, which was previously held at Paddy O’Quigley’s inside the Holiday Inn Holidome at 200 McDonald Drive, will now be held at Buffalo Wild Wings, 1012 Massachusetts St., Marchiony said Friday.
“We’ve always wanted to hold it downtown,” he said. “And the opportunity came up this past year, and Buffalo Wild Wings was interested, and we talked to them and it worked out.”