Last week, Purdue Athletics tweeted out that over 4,000 new season tickets sold:
Since existing season ticket holders have until April 30th to renew their season tickets, we won’t know the percent of those renewing. I would conservatively hypothesize that is at or above 90%, as last year’s renewal rate was at 87%, and season ticket prices have held steady (or decreased). Last year, Purdue sold just over 14,000 season tickets (not counting the students), which was 2,000 more than they sold in 2016.
If we assume that 90% of season ticket holders renew their packages, and include the 4,000 new season tickets sold, it’s safe to say that Purdue has sold around 16,700 season tickets so far, which is nearly 30% of Ross-Ade’s seating capacity.
Of course, this is NOT counting students, but if we very conservatively assume 5,000 student tickets (the same for Mackey, which normally sells out as students buy the all-sports “Boarding Pass”), then we get closer to 40% of Ross-Ade’s capacity. Again, these are all extremely conservative estimates, so in reality the season ticket holder number will be at or around 50% of Ross-Ade’s seating capacity once you count all the students.
While 50% may seem low (around 28,600), we are again only counting season ticket holders and not individual ticket game sales and mini-plans. This also does not include visiting fans, recruits, and special group sales like for Family/Band Day, Military Appreciation Day, and Homecoming, which can boost individual game attendance numbers.
So what’s driving the surge in ticket sales? It’s two factors: renewed excitement in Purdue football and a good home schedule. Unless you’ve been under a rock since September 1st, you know that there’s a renewed energy surrounding the football team after a bowl win and returning The Bucket back to its proper home in West Lafayette. This has without a doubt driven a majority of the new ticket sales.
The other part is Purdue’s home schedule, which includes both defending Big Ten division champions: Ohio State and Wisconsin. The home line up will certainly draw in more Purdue fans, as they could justify the cost, as it can be cheaper per game than buying individual tickets. However, this could also draw in some visiting fans to buy season tickets.
Ohio State fans are known for filling up rival stadiums, and Ross-Ade has never been immune to this. One thing that they often do is buy season tickets from the away team, only attend the Ohio State game, and sell the rest (often becoming cheaper than buying an individual ticket off the second market). This was the case in 2013, as Purdue hosted Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Ohio State, and artificially boosted the amount of tickets sold for Hazell’s first season. Of course, I only think that a few hundred, maybe 1000, of those 4000 season tickets were purchased by Ohio State fans so far this season.
Either way, we’ll take money from those silly Buckeyes and hope they get to watch Purdue Harbor Part III in person.
Speaking of money, the increase in ticket sales will certainly bring in more revenue for Purdue. Given the current numbers, we can assume an increase of 3,000 season tickets (4,000 new season tickets - 1,000 season tickets not renewed). With the lowest season ticket package being $119 (obviously, there’s one lower at $98, but it requires the purchase of 4 tickets, so we’ll use the $119 package), and assuming 3,000 new season tickets are in the section to make this a conservative estimate, that means that Purdue should be bringing in around $357,000 in additional revenue, just in season tickets alone. Additionally, if we assume that all 3,000 buy on average $15 worth of concessions each game, that’s an additional $315,000 of revenue just from these new season ticket holders, which brings the total new revenue estimate to $672,000 (and this is also accounting for those not renewing).
Of course, like all my estimates, that’s on the conservative end. If we assume that the average season ticket cost is about $200 across the additional 3,000 season ticket holders, and they buy $20 worth of concessions at each game, then new revenue for Purdue, even after some existing season ticket holders leave, will surpass $1,000,000. And again, I would argue that this is a low estimate, and there’s still plenty of time for more Purdue fans to buy season tickets.
Given these numbers, let’s take a look at Mike Bobinski in his office right now seeing these numbers:
Nevertheless, Purdue is poised to have increasing football attendance two years in a row. Since 2006, attendance has been decreasing at Ross-Ade, with the exception of 2007 (last time Purdue was ranked), 2013 (Hazell’s first season, along with hosting Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Ohio State), and 2017 (Brohm’s first season, hosting Michigan, and a return to a bowl game).
I would bet that Purdue’s attendance should increase, or at least stay the same, compared to last year. The latest season ticket numbers are certainly a good outlook.