Season-ticket sales for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team are well ahead of last year's pace, Brian DeWine said Friday.
DeWine, the school's director of ticket sales, said 31 percent more tickets have been bought for the Mocs' five-game 2009 schedule at Finley Stadium than at this point a year ago. And he said 34 percent of the 841 season tickets sold so far went to new buyers.
The surge, DeWine said, can largely be attributed to three things: the hiring of former Mocs standout Russ Huesman as head coach, local quarterback B.J. Coleman's decision to transfer to UTC and a recent Father's Day promotion that wraps up today.
"In any year, to see a spike in ticket sales at this time of the year is good, but particularly in a year like this because of the economy," athletic director Rick Hart said. "It's a good early sign and we'll take it for that and hope that it continues."
The Father's Day package includes two season tickets for $55, more than 40 percent off the regular price, as well as a Mocs visor and drink coozie. In addition, the dads will receive a certificate signed by Huesman. Additional season tickets can be bought with the package for $27.50 each.
"We kept hearing people say they were going to buy season tickets, but really they have until early September to do so," DeWine said, "so we thought we'd try to create some urgency and throw a great deal out there. We wanted people to commit now, and we made it basically a steal."
Huesman said he's been busy recently signing the certificates. As of Friday, 174 tickets had been sold through the Father's Day promotion, 38 on Monday alone.
"I think typically most of our tickets are bought around August, closer to the start of the season, so to be selling a bunch of tickets in June is pretty good," said Huesman, who bought four season tickets when they went on sale in March. "If everyone who's told me they're going to buy season tickets actually does so, I think we're going to be doing OK."
On May 8, when Coleman, the former McCallie standout who spent two years at the University of Tennessee, signed with the Mocs, 22 new season tickets were sold, DeWine said.
The Mocs sold 1,271 season tickets in 2008, which Hart said ranked fourth in the Southern Conference. The deadline for the renewal of season tickets is July 15.
Tickets can be purchased online through GoMocs.com.