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Barta: Students account for low ticket sales

[ 0 ] September 3, 2013 |

If Gary Barta had his way, the Iowa football team’s seven home games all would have been sold out before August.

But now it’s September and none of the remaining six home games are sold out.

Iowa’s 30-27 season-opening loss to Northern Illinois this past Saturday also was played before an announced crowd of 67,402 at Kinnick Stadium. That’s nearly 3,000 fewer than capacity.

“I would love for every one of our games to be sold out in July,” said Barta, Iowa’s Director of Athletics since 2006. “We’ve had years where that has happened, not very often. But on the flipside, the sky isn’t falling. All of our club suites were sold out. Our season tickets are just down one percent.”

Barta said declining ticket sales among UI students is mostly responsible for the games not being sold out.

Iowa’s next game is Saturday against Missouri State at Kinnick Stadium. The Hawkeyes finished 4-8 last season and have lost 18 of their last 30 games dating back to late in the 2010 season.

“Our biggest missing factor right now is students,” Barta said. “We want students in the stadium and in the arena because they create that great collegiate flair and excitement. But if you looks historically across the country and certainly at Iowa in football and basketball; when we win the students fill it up. When we lose, traditionally and historically, those are the seats that empty out first. So I guess the answer is we just have to find a way to win week after week and the students will come back.”

Iowa usually holds 10,000 tickets for UI students for each home game. Barta said a portion of those tickets now are being made available to the general public.

“They still haven’t purchased a lot of them, so we’re starting to sell them to the general public,” Barta said. “Were it not for the students, we’re pretty close to sellouts in several of our games and we weren’t that far away the other day minus the students.”

The Iowa men’s basketball team recently experienced a far worse decline in student ticket sales while the program struggled under former coach Todd Lickliter. But now the program is on the upswing under coach Fran McCaffery, and so is the demand for student tickets.

“The great thing about students now in Carver-Hawkeye Arena thinking of that transition in basketball, we’re probably going to have to look at a split season ticket for students because they’re coming back again, which is great,” Barta said. “Four years ago it was difficult.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Pat Harty: Columnist Pat Harty has been covering the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Press-Citizen since 1991. Originally from Des Moines, he currently writes columns and covers Hawkeye men's basketball for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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