As of 5:00 Friday, Mississippi State officials reported more than enough advance ticket orders to account for all available ducats at the three bowls regarded as candidates to claim Coach Dan Mullen’s Bulldogs. Pre-ordering began the last week of October once Mississippi State earned bowl eligibility, and ended Wednesday.
Response has been so impressive, in fact, that “We’re over the allotment now,” a MSU official said Friday. “We can ask for more but most of the bowls don’t have much flexibility any more.”
According to Ticket Office figures Friday, fans who were allowed to place orders as Bulldog Club and/or season ticket holders have requested over 20,000 tickets to the Chick-fil-A Bowl; over 13,000 for the Gator Bowl; and over 12,000 for the Outback Bowl. These orders either exceed the total tickets Mississippi State will be issued, or will once accompanying University obligations are met.
MSU has not taken any general public orders so far with the expected exhaustion of all reserved stock. Also, Mississippi State is not counting on ‘extra’ tickets being made available by these three bowls, unlike some previous bowls that had both greater stadium capacity and less local corporate and sponsor demand.
There are other commitments the University has to fill for a post-season event, beginning with an estimated 2,500 tickets for MSU athletic staff, University administrators, and guests, the Famous Maroon Band; and well as player family tickets. Bulldog players can request a maximum six ducats each, and since the entire 120-man roster can make a post-season trip that’s over seven hundred reserved.
And, there will be a limited number of tickets set aside for MSU students. The exact figure will be determined by the bowl itself and its capacity and availability, but athletic officials figure on a maximum 1,000 tickets. Which, State says, would likely involve a ‘lottery’ system for purchase by students.
Though frustrating for fans who either ordered late, or were not qualified to order, this is a welcome problem for Mississippi State and for the bowl. Fan response to likelihood of playing in the Chick-fil-A Bowl has been especially strong, since MSU is working off bowl indications that only 16,000 tickets were definitely reserved for the SEC team with, maybe, up to two thousand more potentially available given what the ACC participant orders.
Or, the Outback Bowl had an initial reserved 12,000 tickets for the SEC participant. Obviously State would fill that with existing orders before the other maximum 3,500 or so mandatory tickets are accounted for.
Using the pre-order process helps Mississippi State provide to the bowl operation an initial group of ticket requests. This batch will be filled based on Bulldog Club priority, and tickets are available if pre-orders do not reach the game’s initial allotment. This is the first year Mississippi State has opened up a pre-order system, which eases the process of accepting and filling orders and then distributing during the busy December pre-holidays weeks.
State has also taken another step in the promotional process by printing a color fold-out fact flyer for bowl representatives. The theme: ‘We’ll Paint Your Bowl…MAROON’. A panoramic shot of State’s last bowl appearance, the 2007 Liberty Bowl, makes up the centerspread when Bulldog fans packed the Memphis stadium. They also exhausted both the original allotment as well as additional requests with record sales of 31,020. This total only lists tickets sold through State, not any others bought by MSU fans through different outlets.
In the last trip to Atlanta for a bowl game, State sold the full 17,000 ticket original allotment with no extras available. There were more tickets supplied the previous two trips to the then-Peach Bowl with sales of 25,459 in 1995 and 23,826 in 1993. But in all seven Bulldog bowl appearances since 1991, every original allotment-ticket was accounted for by a MSU order.