Chick-fil-A Bowl President and N.C. State graduate Gary Stokan called out State fans on 99.9 today for to-date lackluster sales to the State-Tennessee game (WRAL):
The source of his frustration is the lackluster ticket sales for the season-opener, against a prime opponent, after he reached out to them specifically.
“I’ll be brutally honest, as an NC State guy I’m frankly disappointed in NC State’s support right now,” Stokan said while at the ACC Kickoff in Greensboro. “It shocks me, frankly, because every time NC State played at the old Peach Bowl, they would bring 25,000 people.
According to Stokan, Tennesse, NC State’s opponent for the season opener in Atlanta, has sold 26,000 of their 31,500 allotted seats. NC State has sold just 15,000.
In the second of the kickoff games at the Georgia Dome, Auburn has already sold out their 31,500 tickets, while Clemson has sold 26,000 tickets.
I don’t necessarily have a problem with him calling on us to sell 25,000 tickets (which he later did). I’m sure his presentation wasn’t as intended and this was nothing more than a rallying cry from a proud alum who wants to show what we’re capable of, but unfortunately his tone seemed reproaching.
I see this as a case where numbers never lie, but they never tell the entire truth, either. Consider this (figures per NCAA.com):
*Only five teams (in order: Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama, Penn State, Texas) averaged more fans per home game in 2011 than Tennessee (94,642). State ranked outside the Top 30 (56,287). This suggests a much higher demand for football tickets at Tennessee (40.5% more, in fact).
Joe Ovies added a thought (@joeovies)
@statefansnation justify reasons for not going, but you don’t see SEC fans justifying reasons not to go to something. They go.
*By this argument (“they go”), you’d expect Tennessee (from the SEC) to have easily sold out its 31,500 allotment, yet they haven’t — what is their excuse? Tennessee’s sales are right on par with State’s. Based on 2011 average attendance, State has sold 26.6% of its average home attendance (15,000/56,287) while Tennessee has sold only 27.5% (26,000/94,642). Clemson has sold 33.4% (26,000/77,959) and Auburn 36.7% (31,500/85,792). Shouldn’t Stokan be more disappointed in the much larger, nomadic Tennessee fan base?
*Auburn and Clemson — who play each other on Saturday — combined have sold 28.7% (16,500) more tickets than State and Tennessee. Isn’t it then plausible to suggest the Friday scheduling before a Holiday weekend impacted ticket sales? If you’re in Charlotte (where many State fans are), it’s less of an issue; but if you’re coming from points north or east of Raleigh (where many State fans are), then this becomes an issue.
*Two years ago we saw this as a marquee game, just like it had been for several years for Alabama, Virginia Tech, LSU, and Carolina. But then last winter it was moved out of its original premier Saturday primetime slot to accomodate Clemson-Auburn. Stokan and ESPN can share the blame for taking away a bowl atmosphere and making it seem like a JV game.
*It’s a lot to ask State fans to go to Atlanta in September and then Charlotte in December and Miami in January. That’s a lot of traveling.
Relax, I’m kidding.