Economic Effect

The graduation of stars such as Patrick White and the economic recession figured to have a major effect on West Virginia's football season ticket sales for the 2009 season. With two months until kickoff, what's the status in the ticket office?

Conventional wisdom held that season ticket sales would drop from last year's total, when a sellout of the approximately 38,000 available season passes was reached. Stars such as Patrick White, Pat McAfee, and Mortty Ivy departed, along with much of the offensive line. The economic state of the country also figured to play a big part. Although gasoline prices have seen a net drop, job losses and the general downturn were also expected to combine to drop the number of tickets sold.

As summer winds away toward fall, however, the excitement for Mountaineer football appears to be building. While no sport is "recession-proof", West Virginia football might be the closest thing to it. As of the first of July, approximately 35,000 season tickets had been sold, and the optimistic viewpoint was held that WVU might approach last year's numbers by the time season ticket sales are finished.

"We've been very pleased," Deputy Athletic Director Mike Parsons said of the sales to date. "With the loss of Pat White, and the economy, there was some concern, but we have done very well."

The outlook for another sellout isn't just wishful thinking. Parsons notes that there is typically a bump in sales when fall football camps open (WVU reports back on Aug. 7), and that expectations are that West Virginia will come close to, if not reach, last year's totals.

Of course, there are also positive factors influencing WVU's sales to date. there is still plenty of star power, as Noel Devine, Jarrett Brown and Reed Williams, among others, figure to build more Mountaineer memories. The schedule, with three October home games, five of seven before Oct. 25 and interesting matchups featuring revenge themes, also no doubt have helped spur ticket sales.

In the end, however, acknowledgment has to be given to West Virginia fans. No matter the circumstances, it appears that they have made Mountaineer football one of their priorities.

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