Illinois is desperate for fans, ticket prices reduced

February 22, 2012
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Illinois wants more fans in attendance, lowers ticket prices.

Coming off a paltry 7-6 season with only two conference wins, Illinois athletic direct Mike Thomas is taking his first steps in generating fan support by lowering ticket prices for the upcoming season. Season tickets for sideline tickets are being reduced from $40 per game to roughly $32.86 per game. Individual conference game tickets are priced at $50 per game and non-conference games will sell for $25 per game.

With a not so stellar home slate consisting of Western Michigan, Charleston Southern, Louisiana Tech, Penn State, Indiana, Minnesota and Purdue, Thomas wants to ensure that Memorial Stadium is at capacity come 2012.

Looking back at Illinois attendance history, the average attendance dropped roughly 10,000 in just three seasons. In 2009, the program’s average football attendance was 59,545. In 2010, it dropped to 54,199. However, in 2011, the team faced its most significant drop averaging 49,548.

Ticket prices may or may not be a factor in the significant decline in attendance. But the reality is, last season the team started strong winning its first six games, but six consecutive losses to conference teams tempered any fan optimism hence the lack of interest.

Thomas is taking the right step in reducing ticket costs, but generating fan support is quite simple…recruit talent and win games. The perennial powerhouses of the Big 10 don’t seem to have issue with this mantra as indicated in their average attendance.

Thanks to ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, below is a list of the Big 10’s three-year average attendance:

Michigan

  • 2011: 112,179
  • 2010: 111,825
  • 2009: 108,933

Ohio State

  • 2011: 105,231
  • 2010: 105,278
  • 2009: 105,261

Penn State

  • 2011: 101,427
  • 2010: 104,234
  • 2009: 107,008

Nebraska

  • 2011: 85,267
  • 2010: 85,664
  • 2009: 85,888

Wisconsin

  • 2011: 79,813
  • 2010: 79,862
  • 2009: 80,109

Michigan State

  • 2011: 74,078
  • 2010: 73,556
  • 2009: 74,741

Iowa

  • 2011: 70,585
  • 2010: 70,585
  • 2009: 70,214

Illinois

  • 2011: 49,548
  • 2010: 54,188
  • 2009: 59,545

Minnesota

  • 2011: 47,714
  • 2010: 49,513
  • 2009: 50,805

Purdue

  • 2011: 45,225
  • 2010: 48,063
  • 2009: 50,457

Indiana

  • 2011: 41,380
  • 2010: 41,953
  • 2009: 41,833

Northwestern

  • 2011: 33,442
  • 2010: 36,449
  • 2009: 24,190
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