Richey, who directs both the Bulldog Club and Ticket Operations, is not surprised by the hotter sales rate. Though the pledge and priority deadlines were back in mid-May, he notes there are incentives that have sparked summer orders too. "Scott Stricklin and Mike Nemeth have done a good job keeping that number out there in public, that this is how many sold," he said. "And summer gets here, people start seeing preview publications, advertisements, that get them thinking about football season."
And thus about securing their place in the stadium. Which, Richey pointed out, is not quite as simple for some folk as in past years thanks directly to increased demand for good seats. Where not all that long ago some fans could and would rely on the good graces of friends who were Bulldog Club members and University donors to pick up an extra ducat or two, the times they are a-changing. It's every Dog for him/herself in this day of record sales and a packed house.
"Now new members decide to go ahead and order," noted Richey. Which is not only good in itself, but has something of a multiplier effect for Bulldog sports. As Stricklin said in an interview with Dawgs' Bite published last week, buying a ticket to a State game increasingly leads to a contribution to the Bulldog Club and the University. "It is all so tied-together," Stricklin says.
"I just think the interest level and the excitement continues to build. And what is really exciting, our fans are blazing new ground." Not to mention filling DWS. Stricklin does expect the total season sales record to fall this fall; his slightly higher goal is selling every available season ticket, with a maximum capacity "somewhere just shy of 44,000. Last year we sold about 3,000 short of that."
The athletic director is so encouraged by the sales banked last year, the first under Coach Dan Mullen, and expectations for '10, that Stricklin is looking into potential renovation and even expansion ideas for DWS. This week he is meeting with stadium architects in Kansas City.
Meanwhile Richey and staff are at their desks taking fresh orders from folk who let that calendar catch-up with them, and realized—possibly from seeing one of the many 2010 season billboards around the state—that kickoff is nine weeks away. "Other things we're starting work on this week are the ‘flex plan' tickets and individual games," Richey said. This flex plan is a variation on the old mini-pack tickets.
The $75 package includes the consecutive Georgia-Alcorn State games, with the buyer allowed to pick one from among Memphis, UAB, Kentucky, or Arkansas. These are not counted in the season-ticket total. The optional games are those that are not likely to bring many visiting team fans, so "Obviously with some games this year we have some big chunks to move," said Richey. Meanwhile the Ticket Office is also constantly tracking the incoming payments on reqested tickets, just making sure fans back up their orders.
And it will only get busier once the actual ducts arrive at the Bryan Building. Richey said the proofs have been checked—"The design is going to be similar to last year, it will have some foil for security measures. It was designed by the same people who did our billboards and applications so we have continuity there." Richey only chuckled at a suggestion the 2010 ducat now could have been emblazoned by a cowbell. "And Chad Thomas has done a good job working with John King on having the information about the Maroon-Out and White-Out on the tickets. That's kind of cool."
With a September 4 lidlifter, tickets are to be mailed in mid-August. And Richey is counting on mailing more Dog ducats than ever before, based on evidence such as almost 450 more sales in the last week of June.