Single Game Difference: A Call To Arms

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.

Nice NU

The 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 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.

  • ctya

    For those of us who live nowhere near Chicago that would like to go to the homecoming game, having a nice supply of tickets available for purchase on the LTP Exchange would be nice.

    Also, why is OSU the homecoming game? Minnesota would’ve made a lot more sense.

    • Cebpd

      You’ll understand when we win.

      • ctya

        I think it’s unlikely that everyone in town for reunions who would like to go to the game will be able to.

    • wildcatneighbor

      Because: The students will have just moved in toward middle late September. We only have two home games in October, one had to be Homecoming, one had to be family weekend. You can’t ask the families to already come back for the game on the 5th, therefore Minnesota had to be Family weekend, and OSU had to be Homecoming.

  • MF

    Done. Just got off the phone. I have four season tickets, so I bought 8 MORE tickets for Ohio State and 8 MORE tickets for Michigan. A quick $1100 on the credit card bill — at least I’ll get the miles! Do it, Wildcat Fans. Do it.

  • CatAlum06

    This is an incredibly timely post for me. I am one of those season ticket holders who is looking to gobble up the OSU tickets. I have a ton of in-town friends who are OSU alums and a moral delimma. I’m struggling with how to convert them. I don’t want to get them tickets for this game for all the reasons LTP mentions, but without that, I can’t get them to Ryan Field at all. LTP community, what do I do?

    • Agree to do it under one condition..they meet the NU season tix folks so you can convert them on the spot.

  • Mr Whiskers

    The good news: we bought the max allowed for the OSU game + friends next to us did the same, for a total of 20 including our season tickets. The bad news for LTP: thats 20 annoying scarlet-clad fans spelling out O-H-I-O all night long. We’ll revert to wearing purple and making cat noises the next game, but this is the downside of banging the drum on here for other B1G alumni to adopt NU as their “2nd team.”

  • Guest

    $196 per season ticket? I pay that for one game at The Shoe. Can’t wait til Oct. 5! We love Chicago, and watching the Bucks at Ryan Field. Let me know if any of you need tix to the other 6 home games.

    • Catatonic Joe

      NU is in a little different situation. If every undergrad attended each home game, (not likely at either school), OSU would have its stadium 42% full. NU, only 18%. There is no doubt you are drawing better at your home games. Just make sure you keep looking over your shoulder. We’re looking forward to seeing you here for the game.

    • Hey What?

      Feel free to donate those remaining tickets to the YMCA, military, or another program. They’re always accepting and it’s a good program.

  • Catatonic Joe

    “Defend this house” has to become something we fans don’t just read on the scoreboard. Just bought 4 for the Ohio State game.

    • Well done! Great response from fans on this today…

  • vaudvillain

    On an unrelated note, Paul Myerberg’s top-to-bottom preseason rankings have started. He’s on 123…a long way to go before we hit NU, but it’s always fun to read. His writeups even for the worst of the worst are thorough and informative — and a great way to start getting pumped for the football season. He’s at USA Today now (used to be presnapread).

    • Thanks for the nudge. Have become online friends with Paul as he is a regular reader here at LTP. Best countdown in any sport on any platform. Time to reconnect with him.

  • Noah

    For those of us who live outside the Chicago area, but want to attend the homecoming game. What is the best way to get tickets and support the school? (be kind, as a 2012 alum, I can’t quite burn $1100 on my card yet…)

    • Catatonic Joe

      If you know someone who is a season ticket holder, contact them now and ask them to buy your tickets now, before they go on sale to the public. otherwise, watch this site for LTP Exchange on the top left of the web page.

      • Catatonic Joe

        Actually that is the top right.

    • MF

      I hear you on the $1100 and, truth is, I can’t really either. I immediately sent out a “who’$ in?” email to my buddies. Hopefully, when my wife sees the credit card bill, I can say that I’ve already sold them to good friends. A calculated risk, both in terms of legal tender and marital currency.

    • Wildcatneighbor

      Check with the alumni association, they will most likely have a homecoming event…but don’t delay it will sell-out, and likely fast!

  • Catatonic Joe

    Hey LTP, is there any way to set up a referral network through the Alumni office that will put alums coming in for homecoming in touch with alums who have extra tickets? That would help verify who is an alum and avoid folks from getting duped by OSU imposters claiming to be NU grads.

  • Estif

    Yes yes yes! I’m a DC-area alum who obviously doesn’t have season tickets but I can guarantee I’ll be looking for two for the OSU game. The first place I’m gonna go is the LTP exchange and I’m counting on someone selling!! Buy ’em up and sell them to Cats fans like me. Warning – My wife and I show up with big purple wigs and we make a lot of noise for the ‘Cats!

  • Ron

    There’s something kind of wrong here. If OSU (and UNL) fans are more than willing to buy up our season tickets just to have access to one game, why are our own fans (who are reputed to be more affluent) too cheap to do so? Why must we act as ticket brokers and take on the risk? Where is the partnership between the athletic department and the alumni association or other local outreach to be selling these tickets to the appropriate people? Is it that the athletic department is more interested in getting the tickets sold than in worrying about who is buying them? And if so, isn’t that a bigger problem than selling a few dozen tickets through this site?

    On an unrelated note, LTP, since you mentioned site design, may I point out two small things that have disappeared since the last iteration, and that I hope return? One is the “Last Post/Previous Post” pair of links, and the other is the browser tab icon. I found both to have been helpful features, and miss them in the new design. It may be that both are already in the works, in which case, disregard!

    • Mark

      Get what you’re saying but if we can consistently fill the 47,130 we’ll establish a much more exciting game day experience and that will also attract people if they go to one game and the place is rocking with Cats fan(atics). And who said logic applied to sports? :)

  • GradCat

    I live in Ann Arbor (so no season ticket), but I’ll definitely be looking for two for the OSU game. My boyfriend is a UM alum and I’ve converted him as a secondary Cats fan. He will be more than happy to both cheer FOR NU and AGAINST OSU.

  • MF…well done! for those of you inquiring about how to get tickets. I’m happy to purchase them on your behalf, just don’t leave me hanging!