UW Football Tickets Flying Off The Shelves
June 18, 2008
By Matt Winter
SEATTLE -- If there is any doubt about fans' excitement for 2008 Husky Football, it sure isn't keeping them from buying season tickets.
Despite last year's 4-9 record and a narrow loss in the Apple Cup, season ticket sales for 2008 are up. In 2007, 43,500 non-student season tickets were sold. As of mid-June, the Husky Ticket Office is reporting that 42,800 have already been sold for 2008.
"We're about 800 seats ahead of last year's pace," said David Gravenkemper, UW's director of ticket sales and customer service. "If we continue at the current pace, it's realistic to hope to reach 44,000 season tickets sold this season."
"Our season ticket numbers are an indication of the passion and excitement that Husky fans have for our football program," said Ken Winstead, associate athletic director for fund development. "I'm also excited about the droves of fans that will accompany Husky football to away games."
Away game ticket sales are way up, as well--so much so, in fact, that the Husky ticket office has already sold out for the August 30 opener against Oregon in Eugene.
Part of the reason for hope is the promise that next year's team brings to the field. The Huskies return seven starters on the offense and six on the defensive side of the ball.
Among the top returners are sophomore quarterback Jake Locker (2,062 pass yards, 986 rush yards, 27 total TDs, Pac-10 Freshman of the Year), senior center Juan Garcia (Second Team All Pac-10) and senior linebacker E.J. Savannah (111 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 2 sacks).
Garcia was recently included on the Outland Trophy watch list--a compliation of the 71 college lineman that, according to the Football Writer's Association of America, are in contention to be the best interior lineman in the country. His health, and Savannah's, could be a question due to injuries that have the pair sidelined heading into fall camp. On the defensive side, the Huskies return six of their top seven tacklers from 2007 to lead the defense under new coordinator Ed Donatell.
Another added bonus for Washington ticket holders is another marquee home schedule. Coming off of a season where they had the toughest-rated schedule in the country, the Huskies have another grueling home schedule that includes Mountain West Conference favorite BYU (Sept.6), Big 12 Conference favorite and national title contender Oklahoma (Sept. 13) and Notre Dame (Oct. 25).
The high ticket sales might come as a surprise to some due to the lack of winning in recent years. Certainly spirits were low after the finish of the 2007 season, when Washington lost back to back close games against rival Washington State and Hawai'i.
Season ticket sales suggest, however, that fans' hope for a bright 2008 outweighs their frustrations from a disappointing 2007. Much of the excitement is around Locker, whose dynamic run-pass attack makes him one of the most exciting players in the Pac-10. His athleticism propelled his way to breaking the Pac-10 single season rushing record by a quarterback in just his freshman year.
"There's a lot of optimism about the upcoming year," said Jennifer Cohen, senior associate athletic director for development, "Combine that with the great loyalty of our fans and the awesome home schedule--it's a good year to be excited about Husky football."