SBJ College: A Boone Subscription

This from commissioner Kevin Warren at the Big Ten Media Days: “This is probably going to shock you, but the numbers and the finances associated with (the expansion) are usually the last thing I analyze. It’s important to me from a business perspective, but from a decision-making perspective, I look at all the other reasons. If they make sense, finances will take care of themselves. … I look forward to building a brand that will be fortified and strong from Los Angeles to New Jersey and everywhere in between.

When Doug Gillin arrived in Appalachia seven years ago, the Mountaineers were in a state of transition. Their ultra-successful football program was moving in the FBS, but the following fans were a bit slow to move with them. In Gillin’s first season, App State only sold 4,000 subscriptions.

Gillin had much better news last week when he announced the Mountaineers had sold out their 11,000 season tickets for the first time in school history. A subscription sale is not something you see very often at schools outside of the Power Five. The group of five schools that have experience selling their subscriptions are mostly heading to the Big 12 next year (to be transparent, I’m an App State subscription holder, so I got a seat number one, figuratively speaking, for attendance growth).

To generate more sales, Gillin sought out regional opponents that would attract interest from his school’s fan base, and he dropped programming one-time guarantee games in favor of home and houses. App State has hosted Miami and Wake Forest in the past and North Carolina travels to Boone for this season’s opener, where attendance is expected to top 40,000 and set a new stadium record.

Gillin: “A lot of it is just Sales 101. You’re canvassing, you’re canvassing, you’re trying to find people to play us. You combine a passionate fanbase with a great environment and a great product and it all ties together. … It also requires an opponent who understands that these games are good for college football and good for this state. This is where I really have to thank (UNC AD) Bubba Cunningham.

Gillin expects 2023 home games against Marshall, Coastal Carolina and Georgia Southern to sell out in the more travel-friendly Sun Belt East, which should help the Mountaineers maintain their commercial success. “The way the conference schedule is set up – plus reunion, plus family weekend – we’re going to have four or five sold-out games before we really go into sales season,” he said. he declares.

The third thing was what Gillin didn’t do – he didn’t move students from the best places in the house, as many schools do. At App State, students occupy the front rows behind the team bench, from goal line to goal line. Students showed their appreciation by turning up in large numbers – an average of over 10,000 students attend the games.



Both UCF and Cincinnati have sold more than 20,000 season tickets as they prepare for their final year in the American Athletic Conference and prepare for life in the Big 12. That puts them among the top-selling season tickets in outside the P5.

UCF sits at 97% sold, or 25,876 subscriptions sold, and it awards 12,000 to students. The Bearcats are sold for season tickets at 23,700.

Other G5 top sellers include San Diego State, whose new stadium helped lift season ticket sales to 12,500. Boise State sold 17,500 last season but did not respond. today.

A G5 school is going the wrong way: Nevada. New AD Stéphanie Rempe says Nevada Sportsnet“We had 10,000 (football) subscriptions seven years ago. We’ve gone down to maybe 4,000 now. So we have to invest in that and find good people.”

Nearly 100 Penn State football players gathered on July 14 to hear a pitch from the College Football Players Association, which included a list of requests college athletes should consider. Among them:

  • Revenue sharing from conference media contracts, which could be part of a collective agreement.
  • Independent medical care.
  • Health care after game days.

If these demands are not met, the CFBPA has outlined two ways to respond, ranging from moderate to severe:

  • Hold on tight by not showing up to fall camp.
  • Syndicate the entire Big Ten conference.

While it’s unclear how serious these conversations are and whether Penn State and Big Ten players are ready to take any of these next steps, it’s another clear sign that college athletes are using their voice to create change in their work environment. . Can the shift to an employee-employer relationship be so far behind?

The six schools that have partnered with Sense Arena for its VR hockey coaching technology, according to SportTechie:

  1. Arizona State
  2. Boston College
  3. Cornell
  4. Harvard
  5. Northeast
  6. Quinnipiac



  • Altius Sports Partners, which advises 30 schools – including almost half of the Power Five – is taking a big step to help its partners who want to integrate NIL internally by offering an integrated NIL GM. I spoke to Altius CEO and Founding Partner Casey Schwab and President Oliver Luck about the company’s plans for this week’s SBJ cover story.
  • CFP executive director Bill Hancock chatted with SBJ’s Austin Karp, and Hancock noted that this season’s championship game, which will take place at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, will see the fan fest held downtown at the LA Convention Center and a concert series near downtown at LAFC’s Banc of California Stadium.
  • The Big Ten and BTN have created Big Ten corporate partnerships, a dedicated team to lead corporate sponsorships and activations at the conference league level. Industry veteran Tyler Kupper will lead the new venture.
  • Vacation rental market Vrbo has “signed on to replace” PlayStation as the title sponsor of the Fiesta Bowl, notes the Phoenix Business Journal. Disney Advertising brokers the game’s title sponsorships, rather than the Fiesta Bowl Organization.
  • Lids “launches a new retail concept dedicated to collegiate sports products and apparel”, Notes New Arrivals Shoes. Dubbed Lids University – or Lids U – the sports retailer will open 11 stores this year in major college markets, with more to follow in 2023. One of the first Lids U stores opened in Gurnee, Illinois, last week, offering products representing regional schools like Illinois State, Loyola Chicago, DePaul, Northwestern and Southern Illinois.

Herman C. Harkins