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Gopher Ticket Sales Make Big Jump

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November 5, 2017

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Sellout crowds are likely in the coming months for Gophers men’s basketball at 14,625-seat Williams Arena. Based on figures provided to Sports Headliners by the University of Minnesota athletic department, public and student season ticket sales have increased significantly.

Public season tickets, including 965 new tickets, totaled 7,102 as of late October, according to an email from the University. Those totals compared to figures of 208 and 6,192 on October 25, 2016. The renewal rate for the coming season was 97.7 percent compared with 82.7 twelve months prior.

Student season ticket sales were 2,182 as of October 25, after totaling 1,181 on the same date in 2016. The 2,182 figure represents the total inventory made available to University students.

Minnesota ranked 11th in average attendance last season in the 14-member Big Ten Conference. The Gophers averaged 10,308 fans per game and ranked No. 37 in the nation. Home attendance has been mediocre for years and annual averages contrast sharply with decades ago when Minnesota was a Big Ten and national leader.

With 9,284 season ticket holders (and more could be added in the weeks ahead), the Gophers will have about 5,300 tickets available to single game buyers for each home game. Minnesota opens its nonconference schedule at Williams Arena on Friday against USC Update, and most November and December games are unlikely to sell out because of unattractive opponents.

However, capacity home games before January 1 could include the November 29 Big Ten/ACC Challenge game against Miami and the December 3 Big Ten opener with Rutgers. Home conference games after January 1 could all sell out with the most likely to be Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State, Northwestern and Purdue. (The Gophers are playing their Ohio State home game January 20 in New York’s Madison Square Garden.)

In recent seasons sellout crowds have been the exception at Williams Arena but the Gophers are returning all but one of their key players from the 2017 NCAA Tournament team and have received more offseason hype than any Minnesota team this century. The Gophers have been ranked as high as No. 10 in the country, and last week the Associated Press poll had Minnesota at No. 15 (second among Big Ten teams only to No. 2 Michigan State). S.I.com, though, is more cautious ranking Minnesota No. 26 last week.

Worth Noting

The University of Minnesota athletic department reported a decline in women’s basketball public season tickets as of October 25. The total of 1,344 compared to 1,492 a year prior, according to an email from the University. There were 43 new public season tickets sold for the 2017-2018 season, versus 61 sold as of October 25, 2016.

Students are admitted free to women’s basketball games, so there are no student season ticket sales to report.

As of yesterday, tickets ($10 each) were still available for today’s exhibition game between the Gopher men’s team and Green Bay at Maturi Pavilion. All seats are general admission and tickets will be sold at the pavilion starting at 11 a.m.

The nationally ranked Gophers men’s hockey team swept Michigan State over the weekend and Minnesota is a contender to win the 2018 Frozen Four. No Big Ten program has won the NCAA Division I men’s title since 2007 when the Spartans were champions. Minnesota’s last title was 2003.

Sam Bradford (photo courtesy of Minnesota Vikings)

It may not be Sam Bradford’s best birthday because of knee issues, but the injured Vikings starting quarterback will be 30 on Wednesday.

Former Viking Matt Blair will sign items for a fee next Saturday at the Triple Crown Sports Card Show at Southtown Shopping Center in Bloomington. At the free admission show attendees can purchase a Blair bobblehead. Show hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Blair’s appearance will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. More information about Triple Crown shows is available by emailing vikingstwinsman@gmail.com.

MLB hasn’t announced the money the World Series champion Astros will earn per player but last year the full share was reportedly $368,871 for the Cubs. The October 30 issue of Sports Illustrated listed the per player haul for champions in various sports including the Minnesota Lynx at a modest $11,025.

The Capital Club will have Anytime Fitness founders Dave Mortensen and Chuck Runyon as speakers Thursday morning at Town & Country Club in St. Paul. The two have authored a book (Love Work) regarding positive performance in the workplace. More information about the Capital Club is available from Patrick Klinger, patrickklinger@klingercompany.com.

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David Shama

David Shama is a former sports editor and columnist with local publications. His writing and reporting experiences include covering the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Gophers.

Shama’s career experiences also include sports marketing. He is the former Marketing Director of the Minnesota North Stars of the NHL. He is also the former Marketing Director of the United States Tennis Association’s Northern Section.

A native of Minneapolis, Shama has been part of the community his entire life. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where he majored in journalism. He also has a Master’s degree in education from the University of St. Thomas. He was a member of the Governor’s NBA’s Task Force to help create interest in bringing pro basketball to town in the 1980s.

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