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Ticket sales indicate Hawkeye fan excitement

BY MEGAN DEPPE | DECEMBER 17, 2013 5:00 AM

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Despite the slow response from its opposing team’s fans, the Iowa Hawkeyes can expect a large turnout at the Outback Bowl game in just a few weeks. This is the fourth appearance for the Iowa Hawkeyes at the Outback Bowl since 2004, coming after failing to reach a bowl last year. The last game between LSU and Iowa ended with a last-second victory for the Hawkeyes, 30-25, in the 2005 Capital One Bowl. Nine years later, the two teams will face each other once again.

Since the Hawkeyes accepted the invitation to the Outback Bowl on Dec. 8, ticket sales have skyrocketed. Mike Osmundson, the UI assistant ticket manager at the Sports Marketing Office, said slightly more than 10,100 tickets have been sold of the university’s allotted 11,500 as of Monday.

Osmundson said part of this response could be that Iowa has not faced LSU since 2005, but he thought the larger reason was the location. “Iowa fans are famous for traveling,” Osmundson said. “Selling bowl tickets isn’t usually much of a problem.”

A travel agent from Cedar Rapids echoed this, saying she expects her company’s packages to sell out by the end of the week. “The Outback Bowl is pretty popular, so it’s going quickly,” said Laura Clark, a travel agent for Destinations Unlimited. “Each day, we’re checking for more space [to give to travelers].”

Brian Broussard, the LSU assistant athletics director for ticket operations, said the school has sold approximately 6,000 tickets, with seating predominantly in the north end zone. Broussard said while sales for the past three bowl games LSU has participated in have been relatively good, he is unsure of whether the Tigers will sell out their tickets this year.

“Based on our current pace, I’m not sure if we will sell out,” Broussard wrote in an email. The LSU Athletics Department is offering a “14 days of bowl … ing giveaway” to celebrate the university being involved in 14 bowl games consecutively, as well as help raise ticket sales. For each ticket bought, the fan is entered into the contest, with prizes including as winning more tickets to the bowl game, as well as fan apparel. 

LSU fan Jim Dumigan, who owns Jim Dumigan’s Sports Travel, said the turnout for the trip package he offers for this game is the lowest he’s had in 30 years. He said he’s had fans attempt to sell him their tickets because they chose not to go. “The interest in this game has not been keen at all, period,” Dumigan said. “Iowa just doesn’t have quite the appeal we’re used to.”

Dumigan also said it’s been a bit of an off-season for LSU, and for fans who were hoping to go to the Cotton Bowl, there’s just “not much of a interest.” He said too many of the cheap tickets have already been sold, the distance of the bowl game may be too far away for some fans, and there are also flights are harder to book, because many people are headed to Florida for the holidays. The warm weather and holiday destination may be an incentive for fans to attend the game, Osmundson said, but he also said fans want to go for the game itself, not just because it is a bowl game.

“LSU is a good match, and Tampa is a great place to play,” Osmundson said.


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