Yesterday’s post about the uptick in Northwestern’s recruiting and the halo effect on the Wildcat football brand triggered many emails from you under the rough umbrella of “what a great time to be a Wildcat fan”. As Fitz enters year eight at the helm, we’re coming up on year seven of LTP (that seems insane to write). It was time for us to upgrade the site to make this place easier to navigate and accommodate a lot of the things we collectively do together. In my opinion, Brian DeConinck did a masterful job with the redesign and back-end upgrades, but one thing he kept at the top of every piece of correspondence resonated with me. Brian wrote “the goal of LTP is to sellout every NU home game with mostly purple”. This is the year I believe we can achieve our goal. It starts with you, and it starts right now. And it starts by targeting October 5, 2013 and the ‘Cats B1G home opener in primetime against Ohio State.
Yes, I’m fully aware NU has three home games that precede this potentially once-in-a-blue moon match-up of two potentially Top 15 undefeated teams. I think it’s unrealistic to expect a sellout for the Syracuse, Maine and Western Michigan games at this point. I do believe we’ll be able to achieve Vanderbilt 2012 type atmosphere when it felt mostly full and it was nearly all Northwestern fans. We’ll be down 5,000 or so just from the lack of student section in those games considering school won’t be in session. However, should NU start 4-0 we’ll have the momentum to really make a legit shot at selling out the B1G season. Ohio State and Michigan are guaranteed sellouts. Minnesota and Michigan State are not. Should the ‘Cats beat Ohio State, we’ll be back to 1996 level of bandwagon support as we’ll be well on our way to contending for the B1G Legends Division title. Candidly, we could lose the Ohio State game and it would have minimal impact on the division race. If we take care of business within the division and beat Michigan and Nebraska, we’ll have a clear path. But those are the on-field things that are out of our control. What’s in our control? The gameday experience.
One of the most underrated and underutilized perks of being a Northwestern season ticket holder is the fact we get dibs on buying single game tickets. Lots and lots of single game tickets. My call to arms is for you the season ticket holder to call your account manager and buy as many single game tickets as possible. I’m not sure of the limit, but it was pretty healthy last year. Northwestern is anticipating breaking the season ticket record, including 1995 and 1996, THIS year. The bottom line is that if you called and purchased four, six or eight tickets, it won’t take much for us to block out Ohio State fans. The Buckeyes are assured an allotment of 3,000-5,000 through normal protocol of visiting fan allotment, but that’s it. Before you freak out about the expense (and your significant other’s reaction to the credit card bill) hear me out.
Your tickets won’t go unsold. I could honestly sell 50 of these during game week. We all know so many people who will wake up that week and say, “wow, it’d be great to go to the Northwestern – Ohio State game on Saturday, but how could I get a ticket?”. I’m still amazed at how many friends and neighbors ASSUME they can’t get a ticket to an NU game without a season ticket (they assume the games sellout). I’ve been banging the drum for you to convince others to buy season tickets. Well, this is the single most time-tested way to convert a fan. Get them to the game and let them experience it. For me, this has worked for the likes of games featuring as low profile of names as South Dakota and Eastern Michigan. Getting someone to a primetime B1G game? Done deal for next year. You won’t even have to ask them to purchase season tickets, they’ll ask you.
There are nearly 4,000 daily readers on this site. Let’s assume half of you are season ticket holders. We can gobble up 10,000+ tickets among us and just like that block out the Ohio State fans. Ultimately, if for some crazy reason, you can’t get friends to pay you FACE value for this sure to be hard to get ticket, you can unload them in numerous other ways. You know I’m not going to promote selling it to an Ohio State fan, but let’s say you get five people to come out of six tickets you bought. You could unload that online and likely get triple digits. Better yet, especially for out of town folks, the LTP Exchange was created for THIS very reason – unloading tickets/access to tickets from a diehard standpoint. The LTP Exchange has been updated for this year to make it even easier to navigate.
Frankly, as great as the Nebraska game and atmosphere was last year, I was embarrassed. The place was half red. If we’re not proactive, the very same thing will happen this year. Ohio State fans gobble up every single unsold ticket the MINUTE they go on sale to the public. They own the corners of the stadium which plays in to their wave-like chant of O-H-I-O. It sucks. It’s painful. It’s deflating. Yet, we can ensure it doesn’t happen.
Rally the troops, warn the husband or wife and go get 8 single game tickets. Let’s turn the night of October 5 in to the world’s largest fan recruiting event. Let’s work together to make sure Nebraska 2012 never happens again. Call 888-Go-Purple and ask for Mike Zoller. Tell him LTP sent you.
Thoughts & Prayers
Thanks to several of you who sent me a note about the scary night for NU baseball alum and Toronto Blue Jays pitcher, J.A. Happ. Happ was struck in the head by a line drive last night against the Rays and has been hospitalized in St. Petersburg. It’s one of those you don’t want to see the video moments that is absolutely frightening. Wildcat Nation has you on our mind today J.A.
The NUSports.com site has a great home splash page taking ownership of the primetime schedule. They’ve got a nearly 1-minute teaser video along with the dates of every game and a call-to-action to order tickets. They continue to get the little things right. We’ll be doing an upcoming post on their digital marketing efforts which have caught my eye.
LTP Purple Pledge
Yes, I’m also still very happy to move the needle on season tickets. Thanks to John Wadden who took the plunge for three season tickets to get us to 80 NEW season tickets on our quest for 200. Say it with me now…with Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Syracuse headlining a 7-game home slate on the heels of a 10-win season, now is the best time to get on board with season tickets. Simply call 888-Go-Purple and ask for Mike Zoller, then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll give you a shout out. The ‘Cats play three night games (Syracuse, Western Michigan and Ohio State) this season and it is sure to crank up the level of fun for tailgating as well.