To Chris Radford, with the success Northern Illinois football program has had, the Huskies sell themselves these days.
NIU’s assistant athletic director for ticket operations said the school has sold aobut 2,900 season tickets so far, with the season opener Aug. 28 against Football Championship Subdivision school Presbyterian at Huskie Stadium.
“It’s almost the exact same pace as last year,” Radford told the Daily Chronicle. “Almost the same pace as last year, which in my mind is good, because last year our first home game was late September, so we had a whole other month to sell season tickets.”
Radford said that NIU with its recent success – four straight MAC West titles, a BCS bowl appearance and a 26-game home win streak – doesn’t need to rely on promotions to sell tickets.
But that doesn’t stop the school from introducing new promotions. One such event new this year is “The Yard” tailgate. The Yard, located on the stadium’s west side, will feature live music and a beer garden before each home game.
Radford realizes the challenges involving NIU, such as the midweek games the MAC features each season. However, the Huskies have just one midweek MAC home game this season, Nov. 11 against rival Toledo.
“We feel that our product now, we have the 26-game win streak. The past 3-4 seasons, NIU football is a great product now,” Radford said. “We believe that, deservedly so, we shouldn’t have to do too many promotions to get people to come. ... Our (season) tickets range from $95 to $110 for a season ticket, we feel for most of college football that’s a great deal for the product we have.”
Huskie Stadium will also have new premium seating areas this season. According to NIU athletic director Sean Frazier, the Coaches Club – which is located inside the west grandstand and will feature a buffet and cash bar, is more than halfway sold out.
The new Sky Club, an area in front of the sky box which includes chair backs, a cash bar and food buffet, is sold out.
Frazier added that the chairbacks in the middle of the west grandstand are sold out, as is The Terrace Club on the Yordon Center.
One thing Frazier said he will do is protect season ticket holders, and not drop ticket prices at the last minute.
“You have a season ticket holder that bought a $110 ticket, and then I turn around because I project maybe not a good turnout in a game, and I start selling tickets for less than discounted prices, that’s unfair to the season-ticket holder. I’m not doing that,” Frazier said. “I would turn around and at the end of the day, we will donate them to a worthy cause, or we will do other things to get butts in the seats. We will not devalue our season-ticket holders.”