Football ticket sales down? Not quite

A NEWS REPORT THIS week said Cougar football season ticket renewals are slumping. But are they really? WSU's director of sales is actually impressed with where things now stand. Moreover, he notes, at this time of year renewals for every team -- be it the Green Bay Packers or the Tulane Green Wave -- are "down," because the process and various stages are far from complete.

"As much as people might (think) things are down, I would say I'm actually a little impressed with where we're at right now," said Dan Meyer, WSU's director of ticket sales. "I feel very confident we'll end up being pretty close or better than we were last year."

To add some perspective, in 2006, WSU had 13,777 season-ticket holders -- the third-most in school history, behind 2004 (15,424) and 2005 (14,619). Indeed, the trend line is downward, but in the historical context, consider that the 2006 numbers exceed the '03 season ticket sales of 12,815, which was the most ever at that time.

As for where the 2007 number will end up, Meyers says that of the 500 or so 2006 season-ticket holders who missed the deadline to renew, experience tells him a good 30 percent eventually will send in their orders. In addition, he notes, there are 200 people on the season ticket waiting list. "We won't even get to those until the first of May. We've sent out the order forms to all those folks, and those are all people who have said they want season tickets."

So the report earlier this week that sales are slumping?

"To me, it's a non-story," Meyer said. "Until we get into May and June where we can see where we are after the renewal process, and we've covered the waiting list, it's premature. At that point, let's compare the numbers and see where we are."

In a renewal process, Meyer said, the goal, naturally, is 100 percent -- although no team, in any sport, college or otherwise, actually retains every single season-ticket holder.

"It's kind of a silly premise that our ticket sales are down -- we haven't even gotten through the renewal process so of course we're down. I can't even give an accurate comparison to last year yet. We have people who had two tickets and they want four this year -- we haven't even processed that sale yet," said Meyer.

They will, however, process it this month. The key benefit for those who buy their season tickets sooner rather than later? Location. There's a little over two weeks left before that window begins to close, said Meyer. That includes those wishing to change seats.

"I can look at the map and say, yes, there are some seats that are pretty good but by the same token, there are not a lot of them," said Meyer. "There's a lot more flexibility in what I can offer today versus what I'm going to be able to offer in July or August.

"For example, Section 23 is our most coveted Family Plan section," said Meyer. "The people in 23 who didn't renew aren't going to get their seats back in August. All those people who wanted to get in and committed to it, they're going to buy them up and they're going to get the best locations. The north side, the sunny side, there's such a limited amount of seats over there that come available, this is the time to get in and request those seats today so you have a shot to get into 26, 25, 24. Those seats just aren't going to be available in July and August."

Will 2006 ticket holders who missed the deadline still have a chance to get great seats?

"If they called me today, they will get in line behind the folks on the waiting list," said Meyer. "We're going to do our best to get you as close as possible, and I don't want to discourage anybody that there aren't good seats available right now. My job is a lot easier when I have happy customers. If we can get you into those seats, we're not going to try and teach you a lesson about renewing before the deadline, but the reality is you're playing roulette by letting those seats become available."

  • Cougar fans with TPS priority ranking have two weeks -- until April 27 -- to order tickets for Cougars' Sept. 8 game at Seattle's Qwest Field against San Diego State. From April 27 on, "we go 'date and time' and give out the best available," said Meyer.

  • Tickets for the the Seattle game will be sold exclusively by WSU until June 4 and then opened up to Ticketmaster. "We have mutually exclusive pools of tickets -- Ticketmaster gets one set, we have another set. We don't sell out of the same block, and we make sure that we have the best available tickets. Before June 4, when tickets first go on sale through Ticketmaster, we'll have taken care of anybody who has order red through our office, and we've obviously taken care of them with the best seats in the house, all the 50-yard line clubs, the charters, the reserved seats."

  • To purchase online season tickets, season renewals or single game tickets including the Seattle game through the Washington State office, follow this link, or call 1-800-GO-COUGS.

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