KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — When asked about the slumping attendance at Neyland Stadium, most people have an easy solution: Just win more games.
That’s certainly part of the issue, but I don’t think it will fix the slumping sales overnight. The market environment is different from what it was in, say, 1998.
If you haven’t already, check out my story on the dwindling sales of Tennessee student tickets. There were a lot of great comments, including some ideas that I think will probably get serious consideration in the future.
The picture is almost as grim in the general ticket market.
New coach Butch Jones has generated plenty of enthusiasm in his first months on the job, but his hiring hasn’t caused a bump in season ticket sales, which I’m told are still flat at best.
If you’re already a season ticket holder, you may have recently been offered a chance to purchase an extra six tickets per game without an additional contribution. A recent issue of AAA Magazine contained an advertisement offering half-price tickets to the Austin Peay, Western Kentucky and Vanderbilt games for AAA members.
UT is trying creative approaches to put fans in the seats, and we may hear more strategies in the weeks to come. But UT must strike a careful balance. If the Vols discount too heavily, it undermines the entire season ticket and donation structure upon which much of the department’s annual income is based.