Weekend Brings Ticket Priority Deadline

Even as this ‘sports year' nears an end, with Bulldog golf and track squads concluding the calendar in their NCAA Championship events, thousands of MSU football fans have already signed up for next year. Around 13,000 of them in fact, who have met the 2008 season ticket priority deadline with their orders.

Assistant athletic director Mike Richey reports that as of Wednesday evening "around 13,000" total orders for tickets had been received by Mississippi State, most of these for the full season ducats. These orders are in advance of the June 1 priority deadline for both tickets and parking at MSU home games. And with just three days left to meet or beat that deadline Richey is expecting things to stay busy around the Ticket Office and Bulldog Club.

Which is why an exact count isn't available today, or likely for a while longer Richey said. "I think the next two weeks will be pretty big, too, trying to catch up with the deadline." By that he meant both fans who belatedly notice the calendar and rush their orders, and State staff getting the late glut processed. "We've stayed on top of it pretty well, but the last week they usually start coming in pretty heavily."

Fortunately ticket purchases have been reasonably consistent for the past two months thanks to Mississippi State's on-line ordering system. Giving Bulldog fans the chance to key-in an order at any hour of any day this spring has paid off handsomely for everyone involved.

"When I looked early in the week, the breakdown was probably around 35-40% of orders being made on-line," Richey said. "And I think we'll find out a lot more about that after this week, with the deadline on Sunday. I expect a lot of people to order on the last weekend." Which he stresses can be done right up through the turn of the calendar page…though any mailed orders with a post-mark ahead of the deadline date will be honored of course.

Mississippi State has been happy with how fans have responded to the on-line system, though ideally the percentage of orders placed this way would have been even higher. "We've still got some things to work out," said Richey. "Overall we're pleased with it.

"We've talked with our provider about this, and some of it they've come to us with. The process is not quite as smooth as we'd like it to be. People have to ‘refresh' the screens too often and bounce from place to place. We want it to be seamless, so the provider knows there are some issues. But this year it functions and that's the big thing." By 2009 the system should function much more easily.

Meanwhile fans are being encouraged—to state it politely—to take care of their ordering business before June 1. Especially those seatholders of last year or longer who have put off renewals, expecting automatic return to their 2007 spots no matter when they order. "We have had a lot of increases in giving and in new ticket holders," Richey reported.

"So for people who want to take advantage of priority seating and get the best seat positions, they need to get their order in right away." Related to this, Richey confirmed that the Bulldog Club's spring sign-up push—whether from direct calls to prospects, the recent ‘Bulldog Caravan' tour, or just word of mouth--continues to produce results. "We're pushing 7,000 members now," he said, adding "Winning does a lot for you."

While the emphasis has been on season ticket orders and re-orders, State is also accepting single-game ticket orders for some of the 2008 contests. "And they can do some of that on-line right now," Richey said. "They can place orders for single-game for all of the home games, and tickets for both the Louisiana Tech and Georgia Tech games are available." Obviously tickets could be a bit tight for the Atlanta matchup of SEC vs. ACC, not to mention a renewal of what once was a SEC contest. "But Louisiana Tech has said they will provide us as many tickets as we need," Richey said. "I hope a lot of people go to that game." State's first trip to Ruston will be televised August 30 by one of ESPN's outlets, network and time still to be set.

And while opening away from home doesn't set well with some fans, it is a boon to the Ticket Office. "Student ticket sales will start August 25," said Richey. "It helps with that to have an extra week before the first home game."

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