And it’s getting warmer
An otherwise innocuous press release about single-game tickets for three University of Virginia home football games has my attention right now.
Single-gamers are available for six of the seven UVa. home games this fall – the season finale against Virginia Tech being the exception there, but there are still tickets to the Tech game available in a three-game package that includes the Sept. 5 opener against William & Mary and the Sept. 12 contest against nationally-ranked TCU.
But that wasn’t necessarily what got my attention. It’s more that tickets are still available, including Tech tickets, which surprises me, after the marketing efforts that I’ve been made privy to.
Two former – emphasis on former – season-ticket holders reported to me over the weekend that they’ve been receiving calls from the athletics department asking them to renew. One of the reports said it was Virginia Athletics Foundation executive director Dirk Katstra who made the pitch to him.
More interesting than even that is what the response was – both turned down the requests. One said he detailed why in a letter – paraphrasing, he said the message he delivered was that he doesn’t think the football program is heading in the right direction under Al Groh, and that he won’t be renewing his tickets until a change is made.
This is on the heels of a 2008 campaign that not only saw Virginia finish 5-7 but more importantly for the bottom line of the program had only one sellout, the opener against Southern Cal, and there were wide swaths of fans disguised as empty seats for the rest of the home schedule.
When they’re still trying to hawk tickets for ACC games and, bygod, the Tech game, on the eve of the season, the economics can’t be looking good.
Oh, yeah, Al, you’re on the hot seat all right.
– Column by Chris Graham