McNeese says football ticket sales on target
Jim Gazzolo, Special to the American Press
Coming off the strangest of seasons, McNeese State is on pace to meet and likely exceed its expectations on ticket sales for the upcoming football season, school officials said.
McNeese has endured two hurricanes that damaged Cowboy Stadium, and a spring season that was shortened to seven games after the fall season was canceled due to COVID-19.
“Fans have been very receptive to all we are trying to do and the changes we have had to make,” said Todd Butler, senior associate athletic director.
Butler is in charge of ticket sales and has had the task of overseeing football’s comeback. In the spring the school did not charge for any of the three home games, giving the community a break as it started to rebuild from hurricanes Laura and Delta.
“People have supported all the adjustments we have had to make,” Butler said. “They understand some of the them are temporary.”
The biggest change remains noon kickoffs. The lighting system was destroyed by the storms and has forced the Cowboys, who usually play under the lights, to afternoon starts.
“That is the biggest thing,” Butler said. “I think people are just excited to get back to doing things and being active. They want to get back to their lives.”
With that, Butler said McNeese is almost halfway to its season-ticket sales goal and is 60 percent toward its tailgate numbers. That is perhaps the biggest obstacle since prices were raised after a free spring, Butler said.
“Some have been disgruntled with that, but we have to make up for the spring and we are going to give them more this year,” he said.
For the first time Mc-Neese will provide music for tailgaters on Friday night’s before home games.
“We are trying to make it a very family friendly, fun environment,” Butler said. “We want to make sure they enjoy the experience and we move forward.”
McNeese’s first game will be Sept. 4 against 2019 Division II national champion West Florida. The next two games will be played in Baton Rouge as the Cowboys take on LSU and then Southern University on back-toback weekends before returning home to open Southland Conference play.
One area the Cowboys have sold out were the box seats that overlook the north end zone, Butler said. With the damage to the press box and luxury suites these are the only seats with air conditioning.
“We are excited with where we are knowing that July is our biggest month,” Butler said.
New season tickets go on sale starting July 6.
Looking to add to the season buildup, McNeese will present a four-stop Cowboy Caravan starting at Coushatta Casino on July 20. Two days later the caravan will be in Sulphur before heading to Jennings and Lake Charles the following week. Football head coach Frank Wilson, basketball head coaches John Aiken and Lynn Kennedy, Athletic Director Heath Schroyer and university President Dr. Daryl Burckel will be on hand.