Saturday, September 1, 2012
SMU smashes football season ticket sales, sets records
There may be life after the death penalty for SMU after all.
DALLAS Big name hires, renovations, construction, and the coming move to the Big East are obvious signs that the SMU athletic department is making improvements — but the statistics are showing it too.
Football season ticket sales are at their highest level since 1985, which is as far back as the records go.
“We don’t have records back to the Doak Walker era [late 1940s], but this is by far the most [tickets] we’ve sold since the death penalty ,” said Tim Leonard, the senior associate athletic director for External Affairs.
Season ticket sales have risen 168 percent in the past six years and 36 percent since last season, which ended with the Mustangs’ victory against Pitt in the BBVA Compass Bowl.
Leonard says the sales increase is due to three things: the football team’s success, the schedule, and the new sale structure.
“We’ve made the statement that we’re coming back,” Leonard said.
He described the 2012 home football schedule as “one of the most attractive home schedules since at least the breakup of the Southwest Conference.”
The structure of ticket sales is another change that the athletic department has made. SMU now has a partnership with Legends Premium Sales.
SMU is the first collegiate property of the company co-owned by Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys, the New York Yankees, Goldman Sachs, and CIC Partners.
Along with the Mustangs, clients of Legends Premium include the San Francisco 49ers, Rose Bowl Stadium, and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The “growing program with a growing fan base,” as Leonard describes it, has also broken a record in annual licensing revenue — the T-shirts, coffee mugs, etc., — licensed by the Collegiate Licensing Company that manages the SMU logo.
This is the sixth straight year SMU has set a new record in royalties, which have increased 98 percent since 2006.
SMU merchandise is now not only found at the official bookstore and online store, but also in national chains such as Kroger, Target, and Walmart.
As these record-breaking statistics show, the Mustangs’ brand is growing. Leonard hopes that the sales numbers will reflect in stadium attendance.
The fulfillment rate — the number of ticket buyers who actually use their tickets — needs improvement according to Leonard. However, he is confident that attendance will go up.
“There’s such a buzz right now, more of a buzz than the year we hired June Jones,” he said. “It’s a fun time to be part of SMU athletics.”
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