John Currie's aim is to make Kansas State No. 1 in the Big 12 when it comes to fan experience.
So much so, the Wildcat athletic department no longer has a marketing/promotions department, but instead has renamed it the "Fan Experience" department.
"It's time to reach out to our people and invite them to be part of our athletic experience," Currie said. "One of our aims is to be more proactive in being in touch with the Wildcat Nation."
With that in mind, Currie wants to provide an access to the campus athletic happenings that one and all can attend.
"To make the farm work, you have to have somebody that owns the farm, but somebody on the other end of that. We're all a part of the K-State family," Currie said. "There's a segment of our group that is so passionate and loyal, but they just can't do it (financially) any more. Those people are family members and need a place at the table, too."
The result will be several new ticket options for the Sept. 5 "K-State Family Reunion" opener with UMass, and the entire 2009 season with a special "K-State Pledge" season ticket.
A total of 1,989 $9 tickets will be available for the opener, which is what the price of a ticket was in coach Bill Snyder's first season with the Wildcats. The "Pledge" season pass will carry a $99 price tag.
"In 1980, I remember sharing with all K-Staters that we so desperately needed to have our fans present for our games," Snyder said. "When that took place, our student-athletes responded favorably, and we gradually became an improved program."
K-State went from zero wins with 13,000 fans in attendance in 1989, to nearly 40,000 season tickets sold 10 years later when the Wildcats were winning 10 and 11 games a year.
Now, Snyder says to the fans, "The loyalty became the foundation for the ‘Greatest Turnaround in College Football History.'
Together, we have an opportunity to do it once again. We have a lot to overcome, but we can do it with your help."
In his six weeks on duty, Currie said he's been impressed with the "spirit and passion" of the K-State fans, and he understands that a trust-factor has been lost with a portion of that foundation.
He also knows the quickest way to put buy-outs, contract-extensions and audits out of the headlines is to win football games on Saturday.
Currie calls the start of the football season as being "therapeutic" for the K-State fans. And, he feels blessed to have a man named Snyder in charge of the Wildcat football franchise.
"There's no better scenario in all of human history to come into a new Presidency and new athletic directorship and have the greatest coach in the history of the institution as a new coach on our side," Currie said. "It couldn't be me a more comforting feeling for both President (Kirk) Schulz and myself."
Now the goal is to create a product, and an atmosphere, "... where 50,000 people want to be here every Saturday."
K-State's attendance figures have been on a steady decline since Snyder's departure following the 2005 season.
In 2004, one year after K-State won the Big 12 championship, a single-season record of 39,674 season tickets were sold.
Since then, it was 36,563 in 2005, 37,779 in 2006, 34,720 in 2007 and 32,852 in 2008. K-State sold 39,411 in 2000, 39,371 in 2001 and 39,303 season passes in 1999.
As of Monday, Currie reported sales were still "under the 30,000 mark."
He added, "We are obligated to be accountable to our fans and very aggressive about making things right."
2009 FOOTBALL TICKET OPTIONS
K-STATE PLEDGE SEASON TICKETS:
* $99 - Sections 1, 9B, top four rows of 422, 423 and 427
* 1,200 available
* Limit of six per order
* For those attending at least five of the six home games, the $99 ticket offer will be guaranteed for the 2010 season.
K-STATE FAMILY REUNION
- SEPT. 5 vs. UMass
* $9 tickets - Sections 420, 421, 428, 429, 430 and the North Endzone
* 1,989 available
* $35 reserved ticket, which includes free Wildcat Classic DVD of the 1989 North Texas game for the first 500 orders (one DVD per order)
* $20 tickets also available
* UMass ticket may be redeemed for a $10 discount for the Tennessee Tech game.
GROUP TICKETS FOR ALL GAMES (except KU)
* Non-conference: $15 for groups of 12-49; $10 for groups of 50-plus
* Big 12 Conference: $25 for groups of 12-49; $20 for groups of 50-plus