I remember growing up my daily ritual involved eating bowls of cereal after basketball practice and reading this thing called a newspaper. We received the afternoon paper, for some reason, and the world seemed to work despite the fact at 6pm on a Tuesday, I’d be reading news, well, mostly all sports, from the previous night. Yup, 24 hours later and the concept of “fresh” content was fresh to me. I was a box score disciple. It took me about an hour to read the sports section as I scoured the Celtics and PC Friars news, notes and stats. The one that stuck with me was 14,892. It was the capacity of the Boston Garden and it always read “A: 14,892″ at the bottom of the hoops box score. It was like the comfort food that was my Rice Krispies. The world could be spinning, but the sellout at the Garden was what made the world alright to me.
My Northwestern dream is the same thing at the end of every game box score. 47,130 – the attendance for a sold out game at Ryan Field. We all know what we mean. We’re talking 1997 sellout when it was almost all purple. Not the 2012 Nebraska sellout when it was more than half red. Well, now is the time to do something about it. You heard it here first. We are going to break the Northwestern football season ticket record. That’s speculation on my part, but I’m very confident it is going to happen. Why? Well, you’re leaning forward aren’t you? On the heels of only our third 10-win season in history, we have a legit shot at equalling or even, gulp, besting that mark. Yes, I get the expectations thing, but remember this year doesn’t end in “1″ (2001 and 2011 are two of our most anticipated yet disappointing seasons in memory). Today, we begin the offiical opening day of our 2013 LTP Purple Pledge – a quest to achieve 200 NEW season ticket sales and thanks to you, we’re very much on our way.
We’re going to do a few things today. First, we’ll share some proven strategies that have worked. Second, some shout outs to those of you who have already put NEW season tickets on the board. Finally, we’ll offer up a cut-and-paste email for you to put out the call for Wildcats-fans-to-be.
Strategies & Tactics
There are many to share. You may have read about the term “bundling” recently. I personally have great success with this approach. Simply put, you buy extra season tickets in your section and then use them to court new potential fans. This is a way to bring various friends throughout the season to sample the product. If you’re not willing to fork over that kind of investment, I’ve found most people insist on paying the $33 per ticket so you could frame the “ask” in a way that you cover most of your expenses.
Another form of this bundling is to go straight for the plunge. However, this comes with a timing factor. You should contact your ticket account manager RIGHT NOW and lay out what you’re trying to do. For example, my account manager, Tony Devito, recently left NU. When he was there, I’d tell him exactly what I was doing and saying I’ve got four more who want to buy, but they want to be as close to us in 131 as possible. He’d give me the specifics on what was available, but by getting them to actually pay now your chances of working out a bundled package are much better than if you wait until after the season ticket renewal deadline in a few months. I highly, highly recommend playing the role of intermediary for several reasons. First, your newfound Wildcat ticket holders are likely intimidated by the process. “Who do I call, what do I ask for…etc..” Alleviate all the hassle and they’ll love you for it. Plus, while NU does not have a referral program that gives you credit for this (yet), it has endeared me for favors when you really need your “guy” to come through for you.
Personally, my wife should be getting commission from Northwestern. She’s embraced the role of Mrs. LTP and has become the queen of tailgating. Our west lot tailgates grew from just 2-3 families to now averaging around 20-30 people per game. It is usually a different group of people each game and many of them have converted to season ticket holders. Mind you, none of them are Northwestern alums. They just love the tailgate environment and have seen other friends join us and have been poster children for Mike Polisky’s plan of being another B1G school fan (we have Indiana and Ohio State so far) and will root for NU all but one game a year. If you get a pair of extra tickets and tailgate, you’ll be able to host all year long without a problem of using the seats.
I’m overwhelmed at the number of you who purchase season tickets as out of town fans. We created a new solution just for you last year – the LTP exchange. It is being upgraded THIS WEEK thanks to your donations, and the premise is simple. You buy season tickets and plan on attending one or two games which leaves you with five games and a guilty conscience knowing empty seats equals the quickest way to get me upset. Well, you can post your extra tickets here and know that a Northwestern fan is going to put them to use. Also, you can donate them back to Northwestern and the ‘Cats put them to use with a local YMCA and/or Boys & Girls Club.
I’ve been slow in finally launching the LTP Purple Plunge this year and many of you have already sent in news of your season ticket purchases. Thanks to you, we’re closing in on 10% of the 200 NEW season ticket goal on day one. Andrew H. purchased two new season tickets after being bundled and then convinced his co-worker to scoop up a pair. Put four on the board! Jim F. used the bundle technique and added a pair to his existing pair, so put two more on the board! Brad M. purchased a four pack from out of town to get us up to 10 for the season. John W. from Cincinnati, who I met at the Gator Bowl, bought a pair of tickets and will be attending a couple games while donating or LTP link exchanging the rest. Jeff K. a longtime season ticket holder from East Lansing convinced one of his East Lansing buddies to get a pair…unbelievable. That puts us at 14. Tim K. from Green Bay added a +1 to his lot with a birthday gift to his dad. Shawn B. added a +1 thanks to his girlfriend. That gets us to 16. And finally, I added four Ohio State and Indiana fans to section 131 to get us to exactly 20 on the year. What a fantastic start! We’ll be checking in daily with reports until we get to our goal of 200.
Cut & Paste
Now, just to make it easy for you, here is a cut and paste email that you can use to lure potential new season ticket holders.
By now you know how much fun we have at Northwestern football games. The Saturday tailgates have been phenomenal in the past few years. Awesome weather, great food, and all the activities for the kids at Wildcat Alley. Plus, it’s always great to relive the glory years and get to see college life still relatively unchanged right in front of our eyes in the parking lot.
I’m pretty psyched about this season in particular. Fitz has a ton of momentum going after the Gator Bowl win and a 10-win season and almost everyone back. All-American punt returner and star RB Venric Mark is back as is QBs Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian. We’re loaded at wide receiver and the defense continues to improve. Even better, the home schedule is loaded this year as Ohio State AND Michigan both come to Ryan Field. Based on those two opponents, tickets will be sold out and the only way to ensure you can go is to buy season tickets. They’ll be going for $150 each minimum online for single game tickets. Plus, Michigan State and Big East champion Syracuse come to Evanston as well as Minnesota and a pair of hopefully easier, fun September wins against Western Michigan and Maine. Tickets are $262 each and I’m happy to take care of setting it all up for you guys if you’re interested. Let’s do this – it should be an awesome season.
OK, so there you go – a full toolkit for you to start drumming up business and help us achieve the goal of this blog – a packed house with almost all purple on every Saturday. I made it even easier for you today. Here is the LTP version of the Staples “EASY” button. Just click below and you’ll be taken to the online site to purchase tickets if you should choose. Or, you can call 888-GO-PURPLE and talk to a ticket agent.
LTP N Flag Project
We’re also clearing out the backlog of Northwestern “N” flags that so many of you have submitted. Here is a great one from Cape Reigna, New Zealand from Guy Benson.