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ODU football ticket sales are booming; The opening against Virginia Tech is almost sold out

NORFOLK, Virginia – At a time when college football attendance is declining nationally, Old Dominion University has seen a dramatic increase in ticket sales.

With the home opener against Virginia Tech a week away, ODU saw a 72% increase in season ticket sales. ODU sold 7,200 season tickets last season, but had sold 12,364 through Thursday.

That’s an increase of 5,164 subscriptions and counting.

The Virginia Tech game will sell out soon, possibly as early as Friday. As of Thursday night, 19,667 tickets had gone out for the game. SB Ballard Stadium seats 21,944.

Remaining tickets will go on sale to members of the Old Dominion Athletic Foundation on Friday morning from 10:30 a.m. and sales will continue throughout the weekend.

Only season passes and two- or three-game mini-plans were available for purchase so far. Mini-plans (Virginia Tech, Marshall, and Arkansas State or JMU, Liberty, and Georgia Southern) are priced at $125 each.

Season tickets, which start at $150, and mini-packages will remain on sale as long as tickets are available. To purchase subscriptions, CLICK HERE

It costs at least $100 to join ODAF, the University’s fundraising organization. ODAF’s more than 2,000 members can purchase unlimited tickets starting today, priced at $65 each.

To join the ODAF, CLICK HERE.

RJ Scruggs, ODU’s assistant sports director for box office, says ODU has sold 443 mini-plans that include the Virginia Tech game.

This will be the second time ODU has sold out a game with Virginia Tech without tickets going on sale to the general public. ODU sold the old Foreman Field in 2018 when the Monarchs upset the 11e-Ranked Hokies, 49-35.

ODU’s subscription sales compare well with cross-border Sun Belt rival James Madison, which will move to FBS this fall. JMU is approaching its school record of 8,000 subscriptions.

“It’s a tribute to everyone in our department who worked so hard and to our fans who care so much about our program,” said ODU Athletic Director Dr. Wood Selig.

“And especially to the head coach Ricky Rahnwho transformed our program so quickly.”

ODU has the capacity to sell approximately 14,500 subscriptions. The rest of the stadium’s approximately 6,500 tickets are provided to students, sold to visiting teams or used as free tickets for the families of players and rookies.

ODU’s once-robust season ticket sales have declined in recent years, in part because the team had a 10-26 record from 2017 to 2019, including a 1-11 record in 2019. ODU s then sat out in 2020 due to the pandemic, which further dampened fan interest. .

The pandemic, which has been blamed on a sharp decline in college football attendance nationwide, has also had an effect on ODU, as some fans were reluctant to venture into the crowds last season.

Dr. Selig attributes the increase in sales to several factors.

First, ODU’s performance last season under Rahne kept many fans coming back. The Monarchs started last season losing six of seven games but went on to win five in a row to win their first bowl offer since 2016.

ODU took 5,000 fans to the Myrtle Beach Bowl, where the Monarchs fell to Tulsa, and where their fan base was a huge hit with bowl officials and ESPN.

ODU returns 19 starters – 10 on offense, seven on defense and two on special teams.

Conference USA’s move to the Sun Belt Conference, as well as Virginia Tech’s entry into the program, were other factors, he said. The Hokies have a large following at Hampton Roads and Tech fans will surely be fired up for this game given the loss at ODU four years ago.

Joining the Sun Belt also inflated ODU’s schedule. This gave ODU an annual game with James Madison, its first conference rival in the state in a decade, as well as East Division rivals Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia State and Georgia Southern. Marshall, the Monarchs’ fiercest rival in Conference USA, has also joined the Eastern Division.

“We knew from the reaction of thousands of fans when we moved to the Sun Belt Conference that they were excited about the change,” Dr Selig said. “We are delighted to see that this enthusiasm has resulted in over 5,000 new subscriptions.”

Rahne told Sun Belt media days that ODU fans never developed strong feelings for the Conference USA rivals. This is largely because Conference USA was such a geographically dispersed league. He estimated that ODU’s average road haul of 1,000 miles last season will be cut in half this fall.

“Our fans are going to care about games against teams like James Madison and App State,” he said.

The Sun Belt East Division is also arguably the best in the country this side of the Power 5. App State and Coastal Carolina have spent time in the Top 25 in recent years and Marshall was a Conference USA powerhouse.

ODU also removed seat membership fees and reduced prices on many tickets that did not require a fee, thereby reducing the price of the vast majority of subscriptions.

ODU also implemented a marketing plan that placed a heavy emphasis on social media, and the University sent a letter from Rahne to thousands of former season ticket holders.

There was also a donor-funded media campaign.

The campaign was led by Jerry Davis, who founded and is president of The Davis Advertising agency, which has offices in Virginia Beach and Washington, DC. Dennis Ellmer, President and CEO of Priority Automotive, also played a major role. ODU placed hundreds of ads in local media.

“I want to thank Jerry Davis and everyone at the Davis Advertising Agency for their efforts,” Dr. Selig said. “It was really a team effort.”

The University should have more than one sold-out sale this season. The regular season finale against JMU on Nov. 12 looks likely to sell out. Like Tech, JMU are expected to bring a large contingent of fans to Norfolk.

Most premium seating at SB Ballard Stadium is fully booked, including Priority Automotive Club, all suites and all Cox Business Lodge lounge seating. The premium seats have all been sold out since ODU started playing football in 2009 until last season.

In order to meet the demand for more upscale seating, ODU has opened a new space called The Deck which offers a buffet, soft drinks and cash bar and a gathering place with unobstructed views of the pitch and scoreboard TowneBank board. It also has three large screen TVs.

The area is marketed to businesses as a place where business people can meet and enjoy a game of football while making contact with potential customers or business partners. Although designed for business, it is open to all fans.

For more information on The Deck, call Justin Ross at (757) 683-3360.

To purchase subscriptions, CLICK HERE