STILLWATER — The Oklahoma State ticket office enters this football season with the same plan it’s always had come August. Sell more tickets than the year before.
But that’s an ambitious goal in 2014. The 50,223 season tickets sold last year were a school record.
“There’s definitely a chance, but I hesitate to guarantee that it will happen,” said OSU ticket manager Craig Bauman about passing last year’s total. “Even if we aren’t able to, my guess is that we’ll probably end with the second or third highest season-ticket sales ever for OSU.”
For Bauman and his staff, the 2014 season presents a unique set of challenges for its initial push to sell more tickets. Many of the factors that led to last year’s record mark are gone, replaced by variables that could potentially dampen sales.
In 2013, OSU was picked to finish first in the Big 12 preseason media poll. In 2014, it was selected fifth.
In 2013, the Cowboys’ regular season finale was Bedlam; the “premium game” on the schedule that was available to only season-ticket holders. In 2014, OSU travels to Norman for its last regular-season matchup. The premium home game? It’s against a rebuilding Texas team on Nov. 15.
The statistic that proves the department’s current struggle: Bauman said at the end of July his office was at about 82 percent of where it was last year in terms of season-ticket sales.
“That hype definitely helps you out in the normally slow months, June and July,” Bauman said. “Because we don’t have that this year, it’s our job to really capitalize on August this year to get people on board.”
Bauman said a detailed social media promotion strategy from the ticket office will be rolled out right up until the opener. Its main intent will be to drum up the excitement of attending live games at Boone Pickens Stadium, rather than just letting fans know where they can buy tickets.
That plan, combined with the overall growth Bauman has seen over the past 10 years, makes him optimistic that more records will be broken soon. If not next season, he said, the year after.
Bauman anticipates season-ticket sales reaching 52,000 in the “very-near future.” Once that figure reaches about 54,000, he said its likely season tickets will become sold out, because the remaining tickets will be contractually obligated to be sold elsewhere.
“If we do our job right, I think that’s coming within the next two to three years pretty easily,” Bauman said. “It’s something that we’re all looking forward to around here.”
In many ways, the football team’s success is synonymous with the ticket office’s numbers, Bauman said. His estimation of what 2015 could hold for his office mirrors what some believe is the future course of a team developing a slew of untested, but otherwise talented players.
“We might take a tiny step back,” Bauman said. “But even if we do, in the grand scheme of things, it’s really just going to set us up for next year.”