PULLMAN – Through last week, Washington State had sold 20,368 seats to its Sept. 12 game in Seattle against Hawaii. That pace of sales is about on par with 2007 when the Cougs drew 46,000-plus at Qwest against San Diego State, but it is well below the rate of last year's Seattle game against Oklahoma State. And the difference, in terms of dollars and cents to WSU, is significant.
Dan Meyer, director of ticket sales and operations at WSU, says the revenue spread between drawing 45,000 vs. 55,000 fans is $300,000.
So far, WSU has sold 8,000 fewer seats for the Hawaii game than a year ago at this point for OSU. The Cougar-Cowboy contest ultimately drew more than 50,000.
"There are three critical ways WSU alums and supporters can most help move the needle foe their teams -- buy tickets to games and make donations to the athletic scholarship fund and the stadium renovation project," says Glenn Osterhout of the King County Cougar Club. "If the Cougs could draw 60,000 fans to Qwest instead of 45,000, we're talking nearly half-a-million-dollars more in revenue for the school. That's huge -- and every Cougar can help make it happen. Heck, if you can't attend, buy some tickets and give 'em away."
WSU's highest-ever attendance level at Qwest was the inaugural game, in 2002, when the eventual Pac-10 champions, led by Jason Gesser
, drew 63,588 for a victory over Nevada. The second-highest turnout was the 2004 game, against Colorado, with 56,188 fans.
Meyer notes that ticket sale are down throughout the Pac-10 this season, but says he's encouraged that the pace of sales for WSU-Hawaii will pick up. For one, he notes, a significant portion of the Cougar nation traditionally buys late. In addition, he's not sure that word has fully spread that the Sept. 12 game -- dubbed the Gridiron Classic -- isn't likely to be picked up for TV.
Moreover, he adds, it's pretty clear from reports coming out of Pullman this month that the football team is much improved.
For tickets or more information, call 1-800-GO-COUGS or visit wsucougars.com.
NOTABLE QWEST NOTES:
Kickoff is set for 4 pm.
Some of the best seats in the house, the $55 club and $42 charter seats, are still available.
WSU is again offering a ticket philanthropy program in which people can buy $7 seats at Qwest that will be given to the Boys and Girls Clubs and to Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Last year, more than 1,100 low-income youngsters in Western Washington were able to attend WSU's Qwest game, courtesy of Cougfan.com and others. To join the effort, contact the WSU Athletic Ticket Office at email@example.com.
Fans concerned with traffic and parking at Qwest will have the option of riding to the game via Sound Transit's Sounder train, which offers service from Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner, Auburn, Kent, Tukwila, Everett and Edmonds.
Since its inception, WSU's annual game in Seattle has evolved into a week-long celebration of the broader university. For a complete list of events, click to wsuinseattle.wsu.edu.
No word yet on where the tailgating hotspots might be this year in light of the fact construction of the light rail line has put Tailgate Heaven near the viaduct off limits.
The Washington Beef Producers are once again the official sponsors of the Gridiron Classic.