Season ticket sales down in NIU’s post-Lynch era

By Frank Gogola

Football season tickets sales fell by 890 from 2013 to 2014.

There were 4,243 season tickets sold for the 2013 season and 3,353 season tickets sold so far for the 2014 season, marking a 20.9 percent decrease. The 3,353 season ticket sales was slightly below the 3,595.17 average season tickets sold between 2008 and 2013, NIU’s Chandler Harnish and Jordan Lynch years.

Athletic Director Sean Frazier said he thinks season ticket sales fell from 2013 to 2014 because of a combination of this season’s home schedule, facilities issues at Huskie Stadium and the Athletic Department’s inability to target potential season ticket buyers outside DeKalb.

“We don’t have a game in the month of September [and] we have one game against an FCS opponent; that really hurts you,” Frazier said.

“I think that we also have some amenity issues relative to concessions and restroom facilities; we need to address those issues.

“And we need to have more of an outbound approach. … I think we’ve sat back and have had more of a wait-and-see attitude with our local market, and we really need to get into the Chicagoland area … .”


To remedy the scheduling situation, Frazier has helped secure commitments from bigger and better competition. In 2013 and 2014, the Huskies played two non-conference home games, and they were both against Football Championship Subdivision teams.

Frazier and the Athletic Department were able to bring in big-name competition through their Schedule Palooza announcements during the summer and the end of September. Among the announcements were San Diego State, Brigham Young, Utah, Maryland, Tulsa, Vanderbilt and USF.

“I think it’s pretty robust,” Frazier said. “… I think looking at what we’ve done, not just for our institution but for our conference, that we’ve definitely raised the level of competition that will be coming to DeKalb. … It’ll be great socio-economically for the city of DeKalb and Sycamore to have those institutions coming in, spending money, coming here to play in DeKalb. So, I’m excited. It’s a win-win for both sides.”

In between the Schedule Palooza announcements, Frazier unveiled a home-and-home series with Boston College, of the Atlantic Coast Conference. In doing so, the Huskies’ 2015 home game count went down from seven games to six games with the 2015 contest being played at Boston College.

Frazier had previously added a seventh home game in 2015 against University of Nevada-Las Vegas in October 2013 and in August moved a home game with Wyoming to a later date in order to travel to Boston College. Frazier said it’s worth losing one home game in 2015 to take on “a quality opponent” and get them to return to DeKalb in 2016 or 2017.

Going forward, Frazier said he expects the Huskies to never play five or fewer home games.

“We’ll never have less than six home games,” Frazier said. “When I get more people showing up at our games we’ll have a seventh home game.”


Frazier started putting together a Facilities Master Plan last year to improve the university’s athletic facilities. He said it is completed and “will be released shortly.”

“It’s going to address a lot of issues around our facilities, our concessions, our restrooms … all the fan amenities that need to happen,” Frazier said.

Outbound marketing

Frazier said he’s finalizing a group, Ticket Solutions, to help with outbound ticket sales by conducting “aggressive sales and outbound marketing.”

“We do not have the man- and womanpower right now in our ticket office to go out there and make those calls on a regular basis, but we’ve kind of rededicated ourselves to going out there and attaching certain communication pieces to get to our season ticket holders,” Frazier said.

Ticket prices

Season ticket prices for the general public increased from $100 to $110 and faculty, staff, senior citizen and alumni season tickets prices rose from $88 to $95 from 2013 to 2014.

Frazier said the season ticket prices had been undervalued and were due for a bump in price.

“I know we’ve stayed around the same [price], the same type of amenities, but we’ve increased the product, especially in the last five years,” Frazier said.

One season ticket in the general public section for 2014 costs $110, whereas a single-game ticket for one home game can range from $14 to $40.

“We will continue to not raise [season] ticket prices, but we will modify the way we do single-game tickets,” Frazier said. “We will make sure that the value on season tickets is high, and we will go after folks that want to cherry pick with more aggressive pricing. So, in the future you won’t see an increase in the [price of] season tickets, but you will see an increase [in the price] of single-game tickets.”