Ticket intrigue

Single-game tickets for South Dakota State – and many other FCS programs – go on sale at 9 a.m. today. It’s an interesting event in that it offers insight into marketing ploys and perceptions and expectations and trends. 

Here’s what I mean:

SDSU is charging $40 for the Sept. 28 game against rival and two-time defending national champion NDSU. That’s in line with what the Jacks charged for their rivalry renewal affair with South Dakota last fall. Still, it’s the most expensive on the home slate by $15 and costs double what three other games do, including another against a regional foe and perennial FCS player – Northern Iowa.
As an aside, the Bison sold out of season tickets this year, meaning more of their fans than usual might be looking to get seats in Brookings.

There are six home games this year, a number SDSU would love to hit annually. That means more tickets to sell and more revenue. Selling an extra, say, 10,000 seats at $20 a pop adds up to $200,000 – a not insignificant sum for a department with a budget of about $14 million.
Only two of the six games will be played at night – the rest will start at 2 p.m. I have no idea what fans think of that, but deadline-driven journalists absolutely love it. 

Per usual, season-ticket holders were given the opportunity to purchase extra single-game tickets before today’s release to the general public. It’s an incentive to buy season tickets. (Make that another incentive – the $130 sticker price for the full season is a $20 discount over the game-to-game price.) And people do take advantage of that. SDSU ticket manager Christi Williams said that some 3,387 season-tickets have been sold, a bump from last year’s final school-record total of 3,198.

In its news release about the single-game sales, SDSU included info about how fans can get tickets for road games. I can’t remember that happening before. That info was revealing, too.
UND also starts selling today. It’s charging $20 for the SDSU game and offering group discounts at $17. That seems to indicate the school wouldn’t otherwise expect to hit capacity.
Western Illinois ($15), Missouri State ($12) and Youngstown State ($17) all will charge less than $20 for reserved adult seats against the Jacks. Cost is usually tied to demand, right?
For now, USD is only selling tickets for the SDSU game when coupled with another contest – Oct. 12 vs. Indiana State. The Coyotes did something similar last year with the game against NDSU in Sioux Falls. The cost for the two games is $55. True single-game tickets for Yotes-Jacks won’t go on sale until a later date – but will there be any left by then? USD hopes not because that would mean a 2-for-1 deal on sell outs.

Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.