A Response to Stokan

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.

Tickets are still available on GoPack.com. You can discuss a variety of topics on the SFN Forums.

About LRM

Charter member of the Lunatic Fringe and a fan, loyal to a fault.

'12 Football

74 Responses to A Response to Stokan

  1. tag42481 07/23/2012 at 7:32 PM #

    I remember when this game was announced how excited I was about it. Atlanta, in a premiere game? I’m there! I’m in Pittsburgh, so I would have to travel for a game anyway (until Pitt joins the ACC). Even last year, I was wondering how our game against Tennessee would compare to previous big-name teams they had in Atlanta. That’s when they announced 2 games.

    I’m sorry if I’m not excited about going to what has been labeled a JV game. And it’s not just me – I’d go if I could find any fellow alumni who were interested either.

  2. TOBtime 07/23/2012 at 7:38 PM #

    Here’s a tidbit for you Gary- we’ve sold approximately the same % of Carter-Finley seats as TN has sold Neyland seats.
    Even better, don’t make yourself look stupid as an NC State grad by acting as if the B-grade game is the ONE that should be watched and/or attended. Yes, we HAVE sent 25,000 to the Peach Bowl. It was a BOWL game and the only action going on at the time!
    You’re a real scheduling genius to think ANY teams fans are going to fight Atlanta traffic on the Friday of a holiday weekend to watch the B game. When you treat people sub-par you typically get sub-par results.

  3. Smasher 07/23/2012 at 7:40 PM #

    Knoxville -> Atlanta, 3.5 hrs
    Raleigh -> Atlanta, 7 hrs

    Where I am on the coast, 8.5 hrs

    This is the main reason I’m not going to make it. I’d love to go to the game but I’m looking at $200 in fuel for the round trip. Tack on a decent hotel and food cost and what is my typical Saturday round trip to Raleigh and back setting me back maybe $50 turns into half a grand once I get the tickets for my wife and myself.

    That ain’t exactly cheap.

  4. Daily Update 07/23/2012 at 7:43 PM #

    Drive times. Auburn and Clemson are within 2 hours. UT is probably 4. We are 6.5 and we aren’t landlocked. I am choosing the beach with my family which is a 2.5 hour trip and one day less off work. I have been to ACC tournies in ATL and the GT games in recent years. I used to live there and love the city. I went to Columbis 4 years ago.

    But in this case a rare Labor Day weekend with no home game has presented a better opportunity for my family.

  5. Wulfpack 07/23/2012 at 7:45 PM #

    This isn’t a B-grade game. This is a very important game for both programs. I knew UT would show (they show no matter what), but I thought we’d show a little better considering the buzz around our program this year. There is still time.

  6. tractor57 07/23/2012 at 7:46 PM #

    Trying to shame me into a sub par experience in Atlanta Friday before a holiday traffic? Yawn.

    My thoughts have nothing to do with my excitement for the football season and the team – rather the made for TV crap this is. Play the game on a Sat afternoon and I might attend – a Friday night in ‘hotlanta? Been there, done that and will not do again.

  7. coppertop 07/23/2012 at 7:57 PM #

    I bought 8 tickets, and I’m coming from Miami, FL. Yes I’m going to the At Miami game as well.

    That being said, we are going because we have family in ATL so the hotel part is not a factor. I’ve got another friend from Charleston, SC also joining us.
    I think the main reason for lackluster sales is it is on a friday vs. Saturday. I think we can get another 10K in ticket sales in the next month.

  8. lawful 07/23/2012 at 8:22 PM #

    Shouldn’t Stokan be more disappointed in the much larger, nomadic Tennessee fan base?

    Maybe, but that’s hard to do on a Raleigh radio station.

  9. vtpackfan 07/23/2012 at 8:26 PM #

    Having the game on Friday and on ESPNU is gay. Shouldn’t Chick Fil-A be morally outraged with this,and not with NC State, a University that is in no way, shape, or form, gay?

  10. blpack 07/23/2012 at 8:30 PM #

    As some friends pointed out a couple months ago, in addition to these tough economic times, NC has the beach. Find that in TN. Playing on a Friday night does not help. State fans will show up. Many are just waiting until the last minute.

  11. wolfwarrior 07/23/2012 at 8:41 PM #

    What a bunch of whinning excuse finders!

    State has two NFL high draft picks, one on O & one on D, plus several other players on this squad that should make it in NFL. When was the last time that happened? How about: “NEVER!”

    The best depth on both sides of ball, plus excellent special teams play, all of this is best upside potential since the PR-MW era. State has a very good opportunity to win an ACC title (last one was in ’79) and should have a top 25 finish.

    My group and I will be there late Thursday night cause we’ll be leaving Raleigh and arriving in Sandy Springs, ready and willin’ to cheer on State!

    Come on, get yourself together, STATE football fanatics.

    Are you ready for some football!

    Only 38 days!

  12. WilmyWolf 07/23/2012 at 8:44 PM #

    we’ll show up. don’t worry. we always do.

    plus, the GA dome seats are red, so who’ll even know??

  13. Wufpacker 07/23/2012 at 8:55 PM #

    I got no problem with him calling us out to try to sell tickets. That’s his job.

    But if he was really looking out for his alma mater he’d have found a way to keep our game as the Saturday game. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the business decision of having Clemson/Auburn in that slot and can’t blame him for it. But he shouldn’t then turn around and try to appeal to the Wolfpack fanbase as if now we’re letting him down because as one of us, he was looking out for us. That’s crap.

  14. wolfwarrior 07/23/2012 at 9:00 PM #

    It is what it is.

  15. Old MacDonald 07/23/2012 at 9:03 PM #

    Auburn, Clemson, and Tennessee are schools that have won national titles since we have won a conference title, have stadiums that hold >80k (Tennessee over 100k), and are about 2 hours away from Atlanta (Tenn. actually more like ~3) compared to our ~7. Nice of an Alum to get in the press and trash us with a comparison that is totally ridiculous and unrealistic.

  16. quacko 07/23/2012 at 9:05 PM #

    State has two NFL high draft picks, one on O & one on D, plus several other players on this squad that should make it in NFL. When was the last time that happened? How about: “NEVER!”

    been a state fan long? i’m pretty sure there were a few draft picks on the 2003 team. might want to give google a spin on that one and see what it spits out

  17. LRM 07/23/2012 at 9:08 PM #

    ^Yeah that was a dumb comment. In addition to Philip in 2004, we had three first-rounders, including the #1 pick, in the 2006 draft.

  18. wolfwarrior 07/23/2012 at 9:11 PM #

    O & D top, same year, name it.

  19. quacko 07/23/2012 at 9:19 PM #

    pretty sure i already did. 2003. rivers and mario

  20. wilmwolf80 07/23/2012 at 9:20 PM #

    We travel well, always have. I have no doubt we will fill our allotment. That said, football is religion in UT’s part of the country. As has been said, they have 90k show up for home games, and ATL is only a short trip away. Getting bumped to second billing on Friday night is an insult, but that’s not the reason I won’t be there. With most of our good games being on the road this year, plus the anticipation of heading to a good bowl, my budget just can’t handle a trip to ATL, a place I don’t really enjoy going to anyway.

  21. wolfwarrior 07/23/2012 at 9:24 PM #

    Williams attended North Carolina State University, where his stellar performance for the Wolfpack earned him a top spot in the 2006 NFL Draft.

  22. WolfInVolCountry 07/23/2012 at 9:25 PM #

    I am driving from Kingsport TN with the hope of seeing the Pack stick a fork in the Vols. I have been having to put up with the whining about playing a “mediocre ACC team” and how they are going to tear us a new one. Bragging rights for me is worth the 200 bones I have laid down for tickets, let alone the hotel/food/gas. I hope other fans will step up.

  23. Wufpacker 07/23/2012 at 9:26 PM #

    THE top spot, actually. But like the others I’m not sure what you’re getting at here.

  24. LRM 07/23/2012 at 9:26 PM #

    I assume you’re talking about Amerson and Glennon, even though the highest I’ve seen Glennon projected is third round.

    If you’re talking about State teams with top draft picks, then 2003 had Philip (4th, 2004) and Mario (1st, 2006), not to mention Cotchery, Manny, McCargo, Locklear…

    Look, I see your point, but I don’t see how it changes the argument for the supposed “lackluster” sales. I made the point that Tennessee isn’t doing any better.

  25. wolfwarrior 07/23/2012 at 9:30 PM #

    Rivers was an early first-round pick in the 2004 NFL Draft.

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