STILLWATER â€” As Bedlam approaches with Oklahoma State playing for its first-ever Big 12 South title against Oklahoma on Saturday, plenty of people deserve credit for the Cowboys success in 2010.
But don't forget Mike Holder.
The OSU athletic director has made shrewd decisions and, at the risk of being unpopular amongst the Cowboy fan base, remained steadfast in his commitment to his vision. Holder's solid decision-making has helped OSU increase attendance and improve the overall health of the program.
His â€œPremiumâ€ game ticket policy designates a â€œpremiumâ€ game each season meaning purchasing season tickets is the only way to acquire a ticket to that particular game. The policy began in 2008 with Bedlam as the â€œpremiumâ€ game followed by Georgia in 2009 and Bedlam again this season.
Holder said Tuesday he expects Bedlam to be a â€œPremiumâ€ game in 2011 with the Cowboys non-conference meeting against Arizona, a potential matchup of two top 25 teams, possibly being a â€œpremiumâ€ game as well.
â€œThere are a lot of people who don't like the policy, it has a lot of detractors,â€ Holder said. â€œBut I try to tell them, it's not about one game. It's about the ultimate goal to sell season tickets and elevate the program to where we consistently compete for championships.
â€œTo do that requires sacrifice on everybody's part: The coaches, the athletes and our fan base. It's not a lot of fun, it's painful at times but it is what is required to compete at the highest level in college athletics.â€
The Cowboys are 28-9 since the policy was implemented in 2008 and the Cowboys have seen an increase in ticket sales and revenue since Holder was hired in 2005.
And, thanks to Holder's policy, OSU will hold what amounts to the Big 12 South championship game in Boone Pickens Stadium with, generally speaking, only loyal OSU season ticket holders in the stands.
â€œHe hit a home run with that one,â€ Cowboys coach Mike Gundy said.
Holder's policy, along with the on-field success of Gundy's team, appears to have paid off, with OSU bringing inÂ more than $10 million more in approximate total revenue in 2010 ($17.7 million) than in 2005 ($7.5 million).
â€œWe wanted to sell more season tickets and we've done that,â€ Holder said. â€œBut we still aren't at the level we want to achieve which is to sell the stadium out with season tickets except for the visiting team allotment.
â€œIt's not about selling out one game, it's about having large crowds for every game.â€
THE HOLDER PLAN
Mike Holder's â€œPremium gameâ€ ticket policy began in 2008. The policy requires anyone who wants to wants to attend the premium game that season to purchase season tickets. The goal of Holder's policy is to sell as many season tickets as possible.
Here's a closer look at the impact the policy has had on the Oklahoma State athletic program:
Average attendance since 2005
â€œPremium gameâ€ attendance since the policy
Oklahoma in 2008: 49,031
Georgia in 2009: 53,012
Top five attended games before the policy (from 2005-08)
Texas in 2006: 48,035
Colorado in 2006: 47,908
Arkansas State in 2006: 46,817
Texas A&M in 2006: 43,006
Oklahoma in 2006: 42,819
Top five attended games since the policy
Texas in 2009: 58,516
Grambling in 2009: 56,901
Nebraska in 2010: 55,935
Missouri in 2009: 55,752
Georgia in 2009: 53,012 (Premium game)
OSU's record since 2005
4-7 in 2005
7-6 in 2006
7-6 in 2007
9-4 in 2008
9-4 in 2009
10-1 in 2010*
Televised games since 2005
2 times in 2005
6 times in 2006
10 times in 2007
9 times in 2008
11 times in 2009
10 times in 2010 (including Bedlam) *
$1.2 million: Estimated revenue per home game in 2005
$2.7 million: Estimated revenue per home game in 2010