Athletics pushing for better student ticket sales

Shocker%27s+men+basketball+fans+wait+outside+the+ticket+office+at+Koch+arena+hours+before+tipoff.+The+group+were+hoping+to+get+tickets+to+the+Nov.+5+exhibition+game+against+the+Augusta+Jaguars

BRIAN HAYES

Shocker's men basketball fans wait outside the ticket office at Koch arena hours before tipoff. The group were hoping to get tickets to the Nov. 5 exhibition game against the Augusta Jaguars

As Wichita State men’s basketball team has increased its success with five straight NCAA Tournament appearances, the number of WSU students attending has decreased since.

Russell Wilkins, associate athletic director for marketing and tickets, said the university sells its excess, unused, student tickets.

“We used to have lines camped out to buy tickets,” Wilkins said. “Now, we still have four or five hundred student tickets after the first game.”

Administrators say that there has been a rapid decline since the Shocker’s success in the NCAA Tournament.

“Last year was our worst (after the NCAA runs),” Reid Warfield, assistant director of ticket operations, said. “We sold 20 percent of student tickets a game.”

Wilkins said student participation helps keep the games competitive with their support, and that a decline in student attendance could be damaging to team’s performance.

“When we sell to other fans, we lose a lot in students,” Wilkins said. “The student’s cheer can bring a lot to the game. They bring that energy.

“Going to games is a big part of college, but we’ll never be as high as we were.”

Reggie McIntyre, assistant marketing director of game operations and community engagement, has made it a point to increase student attendance.

“I would like the students behind the Shockers on the court; this can be one of the toughest places to play in the country,” McIntyre said. “I don’t think students understand what an impact they can have.”

McIntyre said his own experiences as a student relate to what he hopes to achieve at WSU.

“I went to NC State as an undergrad; I’ve seen some of the greatest student sections,” McIntyre said. “Students have a voice and they can make this one of the toughest places to play.”

He also said that he was looking for student input about what they want to see at games.

“I am open to suggestions,” McIntyre said. “Students have to be the team behind the team. If they don’t think they have a voice, I want to hear from them personally.”

McIntyre is new to WSU, and said he considers it an opportunity for fresh ideas.

“I’m brand new, and my goal is to learn student traits,” McIntyre said. “I’ll talk to students and I want to learn what they want. We’ll be presenting new things, and we’ll ask students their thoughts.

“We’re a team, and we want to start today growing this.”

McIntyre invited all students to reach out to him with “comments, questions, or concerns.” He can be reached by email at [email protected]