May 23, 2012
By JACK BOGACZYK
HUNTINGTON – Marshall football stars Aaron Dobson and Devin Arrington could be keeping company with you soon.
That’s because the Thundering Herd rising senior wide receiver and outside linebacker, respectively, are interns in the MU athletic ticket office this offseason. They’ll be traveling with ticket staffers to area corporations in coming months in a new venture to sell Herd football season tickets.
Aaron Goebbel, MU’s associate athletic director for external affairs and the Herd ticket chief, already has 10 businesses signed up for a new “Get in Company with the Herd” program.
Dobson and Arrington will join ticket staffers in meet-and-greet at companies in June and July in a push to put more people in the seats at Edwards Stadium.
“It’s a new initiative for us,” Goebbel said. “We’re working with companies to offer their employees season tickets discounted to new ticket holders. We’ve been out there beating the streets trying to get into as many corporations as possible.
“The response has been good. We’re going to do a rate that’s discounted almost 15 percent, and what really could help is some of these companies will allow ticket buyers to pay for them with payroll deductions through human resources departments.
“If we can go in somewhere and get before 8,000 employees, it could be a big plus for us. And even if we don’t sell season tickets to some, maybe they’ll be interested enough to come back once we start single-game sales and buy for a game or two.”
Football season tickets prices for the 2012 season range between $126 and $291, depending on seat location, for six games (Western Carolina, Ohio, Tulsa, Memphis, UCF and Houston).
The Herd’s six-person ticket staff began public sale of football season seats this Monday, after Big Green and renewing holders had a priority period. Goebbel’s staff then contacted all season holders who had requested additional tickets or seat location changes.
“We also contacted all season ticket holder who did not renew, to give them one last opportunity to renew before we went to public sale,” Goebbel said.
The Herd sold 13,030 season tickets in 2011, when Marshall finished 7-6 with a Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl victory over future Conference USA foe FIU.
It’s 109 days until the Sept. 8 home opener against former Southern Conference foe Western Carolina, and Goebbel said the “reasonable” season ticket goal for 2012 is “a few hundred more,” but he’s hoping the “Get in Company” corporate push will yield a bigger number, especially if more businesses jump on board.
“Some people say 13,000 season tickets isn’t a good number here,” Goebbel said. “Well, back in 2000 (after the Herd went unbeaten in 1999), we sold 14,048.”
Marshall’s season ticket sales record is 19,635, set in 2007 – when rival West Virginia visited Huntington for the first time in 93 seasons. The Herd sold 16,027 in 2010, when WVU against came to town.
Goebbel said Marshall will have two “Choose-a-Seat” days, one on June 30 and another on Aug. 11, the latter likely tied to a preseason scrimmage by Coach Doc Holliday’s third Herd club.
Marshall has done well with those promotions in the past, and Goebbel said he wouldn’t be surprised for about 300 season tickets are sold in the June 30 session.
“We make a lot of last-ditch efforts to get people to renew,” Goebbel said. “Phone calls, e-mails from our staff, we try to reach out with at least a couple of contacts before deadlines. We put a lot of emphasis on that.
“Another thing we’re going to try is we’re going to go back in our database and contact everyone who had them in the (record sales year of) 2007 and doesn’t have them now. We’ll call all of those and see if we can get any back.
“The more contacts you can make, the better.”
Marshall football single-game tickets will go on sale Aug. 13 at 8:30 a.m. Season tickets will be mailed to purchasers late the previous week, Goebbel said.
Those interested in the “Get in Company with the Herd” corporate program or seeking details in football season tickets should contact the Marshall athletics ticket office at 1-800-THE-HERD, or HerdTickets@marshall.edu.