Created on Wednesday, 30 November 2011 20:18
This year, Appalachian State will attempt to rectify dropping postseason attendance by offering free student tickets to playoff football games, as opposed to the $5 ticket price charged in the past.
Despite the importance of playoff games, attendance for ASU’s postseason games has plummeted over the last six playoff appearances, with average attendance declining by nearly 10,000 fans per season.
In the NCAA, non-seeded teams have to promise to meet a minimum ticket threshold. To meet the threshold this year, Athletic Director Charlie Cobb proposed footing the bill for student playoff tickets.
“At the end of the day, what can we do to help drive attendance?” Cobb said. “All of us recognized that students are a big part of our fan base. This will be the first year that it’s done…it’s been something debated for us and I was glad to be able to put it out there.”
Last season, Appalachian State totaled 29,028 fans cumulative for both playoff games. Meanwhile, this season’s rivalry matchup against Western Carolina drew 30,622 fans alone.
Why then, when the games mean more, do fewer fans attend?
Cobb said typically, earlier game starts and busier holiday schedules are contributing factors.
“The last few years, when ESPN does our games and typically at home, they’ve been at 12 noon and that’s not an ideal time for us to play,” Cobb said. “Over 80 percent of our crowd comes from off the mountain and we’ve found the metric that 3:30 p.m. works.”
Amy Johnson is a senior communication studies major and a member of the Student Yosef Club. She thinks Appalachian State could fill the student section this year, thanks to the new ticket rules.
“Without having a ticket cost, there will probably be more students in attendance – as long as there’s no snow on the field,” she said. “The decision to absorb the costs for postseason games will allow students who have to watch their budgets to go to The Rock.”
Cobb said the move was a “show of respect” to the students – one that comes at a cost of nearly $25,000 to the athletic department.
The ticket process for students will work normally, like any other regular season home game. Students will simply need to present their AppCard to gain admittance to Saturday’s game.
Student guest tickets are on sale for $15.
Story: JAKE AMBERG, Sports Editor