USA Ticket Sales Near SBC Top

With word coming out yesterday that South Alabama is about 500 seasons tickets ahead of last year's record pace (8,433), it opens the question of how USA stacks up in fans support against their future rivals in the Sun Belt Conference.

The first thing that needs to be acknowledged is the surprising impact that USA football has had on the Mobile area. Many critics of the establishment of Jag football pointed to the vibrant fan bases for Alabama and Auburn and, to a lesser extent, other SEC schools like LSU that exist in the area. They also used UAB and its tepid success both on the field and at the turnstile as an example of why non-BCS level football was an exercise in futility.

While the Jags aren't going to be selling out any 100,000 seat stadiums on their own anytime soon, their season ticket sales and 18,000-plus attendance for every home game on their first two years already puts them on par with several of their future conference mates.

Last season, if USA had been a football-playing member of the Sun Belt, their 8,433 season tickets would have put them in second place in the conference. They would have been beaten only by Troy and their suspiciously even number of 10,000 season tickets sold. The rest of the Sun Belt broke down like this: WKU (7,340), ULL (6,797), MTSU (6,157), ASU (5,777), ULM (3,042), UNT (2,745), FIU (2,500) and FAU (1,431).

It is interesting to note that the bottom three in season tickets sold belong to the largest universities in the biggest markets in the conference. Obviously there is little correlation in student body or nearby population, but there is some in the average ticket price per school. USA, with a home schedule that features no FBS teams, has the lowest average in the conference at $14.16 per game. The link between ticket sales and price doesn't really hold up after that as FAU averages $17.20, WKU $18.85, Troy and ULL $20.00 and UNT $25.00 as the other schools with a single average number we were given to work with. The rest of the conference had a premium seating average and standard seating average. Their prices break out like this: ASU ($24.16/$15.00), FIU ($25.00/$16.67), ULM ($24.00/$18.00) and MTSU ($22.50/$20.00). It bears mentioning that only ULL and ULM do not offer an out of conference opponent on their home schedule from a BCS conference or Conference USA.

As the home schedule grows more attractive for USA in the future it is certain that the price per game will rise. The exciting part is watching to see if fan interest remains this high or goes even higher. Surely most Jag fans believe that a ranking near the top of the conference in ticket sales is their destiny for the forseeable future.

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