News With Commentary by TSL Staff
Friday, December 8, 2000
Gator Bowl Close to Selling Out
An article on Jacksonville.com (click here) reports that 76,000 seat Alltel Stadium, site of the Toyota Gator Bowl, is just over 9,000 tickets away from being sold out. Clemson (with 20,500 tickets) and Virginia Tech (with 18,000 tickets) are approaching a total of 40,000 tickets sold, a phenomenal number -- but not a surprise.
As usual, Virginia Tech took advance orders for bowl tickets via a mail campaign that goes out to Hokie Club members and season ticket holders. The Hokies sold over 10,000 tickets through advance orders, and after the first day that ticket sales were opened to the general public earlier this week, 1500 more tickets were ordered.
This put the Hokies around 12,000 tickets sold, and that was after just a couple of days. Tech's original allotment was 12,500 tickets, so the Hokies requested an additional 5,500 tickets, putting the total number of tickets allocated to VT so far at 18,000.
The brisk sales for a school that is feeling snubbed by the BCS are encouraging. The last time the Hokies went to the Gator Bowl, in 1997, the news about ticket sales was not good.
As you remember, the Hokies were coming off Sugar Bowl and Orange Bowl years in 1995 and 1996, and the 1997 season had turned into an injury-riddled struggle. The 7-4 Hokies finished with 4 losses in their last 7 games. The last game of the season was a 34-20 whipping at the hands of UVa, and Tech fans had simply lost their enthusiasm for the team.
Combine that with an impending Gator Bowl date with North Carolina, a powerful team that had been similarly "snubbed" by the Alliance Bowls (as the BCS used to be called), and Hokie fans were not excited about a trip to Jacksonville.
It showed. Tech sold just 5,700 tickets through advance orders. Sales quickly got to 8,000 tickets after the bowl pairing was announced ... and then just stopped. HokieCentral.com helped to organize a ticket-buying drive that netted sales of a few hundred more tickets that were donated to charities in the Jacksonville area, but I estimate that eventually, Tech topped out around 9,000-9,500 tickets sold, at best.
Virginia Tech had purchased an allotment of 12,000 tickets, so the Hokies had to eat at least 2,000 tickets, at $35 apiece. For a school that had grown accustomed to seeing its fans travel in droves, those were disappointing numbers.
So it's good to see ticket sales going so well. Hopefully, it shows that Hokie fans have reached the point where they'll support the team with ticket sales of at least 15,000-20,000, no matter what bowl they go to.
(Addendum, 12/9/00: VT announced in a Dec. 8 press release that ticket sales have reached 17,500).
Note: 1997 Gator Bowl ticket sales figures were taken from the 1997 Archives for this article.
As you know, every year, message board poster Nova Hokie 95 likes to organize a letter-writing campaign to thank ever player on the football team for the effort and sacrifices that they put forward year-round. It's a pretty slick effort, and this will be, I believe its third year of existence.
He has PTY organized and ready to roll, so without further ado, click here to read more and find out how to participate!