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Oklahoma State football: A stunning success story at the box office

Athletic director Mike Holder says when OSU sells out the stadium via season tickets, no longer will fans have to buy season tickets to get a premium game, such as Bedlam.
by Berry Tramel Modified: June 18, 2013 at 8:04 pm •  Published: June 18, 2013
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photo - Oklahoma State's fans line up before the OSU spring football game at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Sat., April 20, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma State's fans line up before the OSU spring football game at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Sat., April 20, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

“It sends the right message,” Holder said. “You need to be with us the whole year.”

Many OSU fans had the luxury of attending Bedlam without investing in the rest of the season. So Holder “artificially created” — his term — what has been the truth in Norman for decades. If you want to see Bedlam, you better have a season ticket.

And to their credit, OSU fans have responded, even amid a little grumbling.

“We think that policy has helped us tremendously,” Bauman said. “Our fans always used to pick the best game. By taking that away, it really has driven people to say, ‘I'm only going to pay a little bit more, and I can buy a season ticket.'”

Truth is, OSU football was a sleepy program for decades. A decent amount of success, an occasional rise to temporary fame, but never a high roller. Never a force that captured state sports fans who had no discernible ties to the university. Never a program that did much more than hang out a shingle, waiting for customers to stop in.

Now look at OSU football. A glittering stadium. A 2013 season-ticket campaign that is ahead of 2012's pace, meaning 50,000 is possible and perhaps likely. A 2012 average attendance of 56,556 in the 60,218-seat stadium. Twelve new suites, bringing the BooneDock's total to 111, of which 109 have been sold.

“I'm confident we'll sell the other two,” Holder said. “To put that in perspective, starting in 2001, we had zero suites. Gone from zero to 111 in probably a decade.

“We've come a long way in a short period of time. And there's a lot of credit to go around for that. The upper echelon of our donor base, they've stepped up. Credit Boone Pickens and his generosity. Pat Mike Gundy and the football team on the back. And our student body has embraced the football program.”

And don't forget an unpopular, but undeniably successful, ticket policy.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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