“When you have a product as good as what we're putting on the field, it's an easier sell,” Barnes said. “We don't rest on our laurels on that, though, because obviously we've had a good team for a long time, but we're 10,000 tickets ahead of where we were five years ago.”
Barnes said continuing to increase public sales is still a major goal, since those patrons are the most likely to retain their tickets for a number of years. But in order to reach that 50,000 mark, OSU needs to turn a greater focus to student tickets.
As of Monday afternoon, 4,561 student tickets had been sold. But classes begin Monday, which should lead to a sharp increase in student sales beginning this week as they make their way back to Stillwater. OSU also will welcome its largest freshman class this fall.
Barnes expects between 12,500 and 13,000 student season tickets to be sold, which would give OSU a total figure between 49,168 and 49,668 without any more increase in public sales. That would set a school record.
And if that magic mark of 50,000 season tickets is hit before Sept. 1, Barnes said his staff “will go crazy.”
“I knew that the paradigm had shifted, because of what Mr. (Boone) Pickens had done,” Barnes said of the progress over the past five years. “He had given us the shell. He had kind of set the table, I guess is the best way to say it, for what OSU could do.
“And under the leadership of (athletic director) Mike Holder and (coach) Mike Gundy, they fed us.”