UT football tickets sales continue to decline, revenues increase

UT football tickets sales continue to decline, revenues increase

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By JESSA LEWIS
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - While the Tennessee Vols are off to a winning start, the home opener isn't a sell out game.

The UT Athletics Department says about 10,000 seats remain unsold, hardly a surprise facing non-conference opponent Georgia State.

Unsold tickets have been a trend the last few years, given the team's difficulties on the field.

In 2007 when the Vols made it to the SEC championship game, Neyland Stadium was averaging attendance of nearly 104,000.

The next year, it was 101,000. Then for two years around 99,000. And last year's losing season had an average attendance around 94,000 fans.

Fans point to multiple reasons why they aren't attending as many games.

Butch Miller and his friends go to a few home games a year and a couple of away games.

"Everything about going to college football games is expensive, and having a motor home, but they're not unnecessarily expensive. They'll be even more expensive if Tennessee gets good again, when demand gets higher and parking passes get higher," Miller explained.

Ticket prices are part of the reason for the increase in empty seats.

"When you have the availability of 50 and 60-inch high definition TVs to watch a game versus spending $200-300-400 for your family to go to a game in a tough economy, that decision gets a little easy sometimes," said Quarterback Club board member Lloyd Richardson.

"I'm on a budget, basically, and that's the main thing really," said Vols fan Jahl Schubert. "But now I've learned to allocate a little bit better and have that extra bit of money so it's time to go for it, you know."

While average attendance has been declining, revenue from ticket sales is actually up from about $22.8 million in 2007 to nearly $28 million last year. That's after reducing the number of seats and increasing the number of luxury suites.

A winning season would also help bring fans out to the stadium.

"To quote Al Davis, who recently passed away, 'Win, baby, win.' That's basically one of the things that you have to have, a winning program year in and year out. That will probably have more of a bearing than anything," Richardson said.

He also says he doesn't believe the problem is specific to UT. He thinks other teams are struggling with ticket sales as well.

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