Despite being Big Ten favorite, Ohio State cannot stave off dip in season-ticket sales
Continues recent trend at OSU
Ohio State has seen another dip in football season-ticket sales.
The school said Wednesday that it sold 42,373 season tickets to donors, faculty members and the general public by its renewal deadline on July 1. The figures, which were provided to The Dispatch in response to a public-records request, do not include student tickets.
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Non-student season tickets have declined each year since 2017, when Ohio State sold as many as 53,926 seats — a number that could fill more than half of the stands at Ohio Stadium. It then fell to 53,151 in 2018, 50,868 in 2019 and 44,320 in 2020.
Sales last year were impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, which caused uncertainty over the fate of the season during springtime renewal periods and ultimately led schools throughout the Big Ten to restrict fan attendance. Only the families of players, coaches and staff were permitted to attend games.
Among other options, Ohio State offered full refunds to season-tickets holders when the season was initially canceled last August.
As the pandemic has eased in recent months and stadium capacity restrictions have been lifted, OSU officials have planned for the possibility of Ohio Stadium brimming with fans when it hosts games in the fall.
In an interview with WBNS-10TV earlier this month, athletic director Gene Smith said he expected to have the full capacity of 104,944, traditional tailgating in parking lots and other pregame activities.
“We don’t see any change to what we’ve had prior to Covid,” Smith said.
A school spokesperson said OSU is “pleased” with the renewal figures, noting other opportunities remain for fans to purchase tickets, including mini-plans and single-game options that go on sale next month.
Ohio State debuted the popular mini-plans, which include four- and three-game ticket packages, in 2019.
Though a more normal season awaits this fall, the school’s ticket office went through a nontypical renewal process with season-ticket holders this offseason, a potential factor in the dip.
Rather than beginning a renewal period in the winter, it waited until June 1 before allowing them to re-up.
Brett Scarbrough, associate athletic director for ticketing and premium seating, said in February the delay was intended to account for any potential coronavirus restrictions that could be in place, noting they were "trying to gather as much information as we can."
When they determined there would be no limitations, a rollout began.
The Buckeyes are scheduled to hold seven home games during the upcoming season, starting with a marquee non-conference matchup with Oregon on Sept. 11.
Other games include Tulsa on Sept. 18, Akron on Sept. 25, Maryland on Oct. 9, Penn State on Oct. 30, Purdue on Nov. 13 and Michigan State on Nov. 20.
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