Season Tickets In Demand

FAYETTEVILLE -- Apparently, Arkansas fans aren't so jaded by the state of the football program that they've stopped buying season tickets.

Despite plenty of negative publicity for Arkansas coach Houston Nutt over the past few months, the waiting list for fans to purchase season tickets continues to grow by around 10-12 individuals a day, Arkansas ticket manager Mark Scobey said Monday.

Scobey said the amount of money the university has deposited from season-ticket sales is up 13 percent from this time last year, though he couldn't provide an exact amount.

Scobey also estimated that around 900 fans are currently on a waiting list to buy season tickets for the upcoming season.

"(Season tickets have) been more in demand since the middle of January," Scobey said. "And our waiting list has grown immensely since the middle of January."

The popular assumption is that the demand for season tickets would have actually decreased in mid-January, as Nutt dealt with an onslaught of negative publicity. During that time, former offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn left Arkansas for a position at the University of Tulsa and quarterback Mitch Mustain asked Nutt for a release from his scholarship.

Malzahn and Mustain were too of the more popular figures on the Razorbacks last season, and their departures caused some disgruntled fans to state that they wouldn't renew their season tickets for 2007.

The negative publicity apparently didn't have an impact on ticket sales.

"Sometimes, any publicity can be positive, I guess," Scobey said. "(Mid-January), that's when the waiting list started picking up."

Several factors could have contributed to the demand for season tickets to pick up at that time.

The Razorbacks had just wrapped up a 10-4 season, the team's first winning record in three years and the best finish since 1989. As a result, Arkansas ended the season ranked No. 15.

Meanwhile, running back Darren McFadden has proven to be a big draw. He became the first Arkansas player to be invited to New York City as a Heisman Trophy finalist, finishing second to Ohio State's Troy Smith last season.

Whatever the reason, the demand for season tickets has been high enough that Arkansas hasn't had to send out a mass letter to remind fans to buy tickets, as the school has done in the past.

"This is the first year where we had to go to a waiting-list situation, and (we) couldn't just send out a mailer to everybody," Scobey said.

Starting March 1, Arkansas season-ticket holders were allowed to go online and renew their tickets for next season. If there are still season tickets available after all the renewals are processed, then the school will go to the waiting list.

Around 50,000 season tickets can be sold for Reynolds Razorback Stadium, and they cost $210 for all six home games. Season tickets are also available for the two games that Arkansas plays every season in Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium, for $70 a piece.

Despite the criticism Nutt has received since the end of the 2006 season, Scobey said there are still Arkansas fans interested in buying season tickets for upcoming year.

"Whenever you get any kind of publicity, it gets other people thinking, 'I need to get on that waiting list,'" Scobey said.

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