July 23, 2014
The Gamecocks have raised the bar with their success on the field and in the arena, and South Carolina fans are showing their support by gobbling up tickets for seats at every home event. After a record setting year for attendance in 2013-14 in which 1.16 million fans attended events at South Carolina's home venues, Gamecock fans are already looking to topple last year's figures. Football season is still a month away, but the South Carolina Ticket Office has already surpassed last year's mark in season ticket sales.
"We've already hit 52,871 season tickets sold," said Lance Grantham, Assistant Athletics Director for Ticket Operations. "That's already 900 more than last year. There's been incredible demand."
Williams-Brice Stadium has a seating capacity of 80,250 seats, with 55,000 of those set aside for season ticket holders. There is still room to purchase season tickets, but when they're gone, getting a seat on game day won't be easy.
"Season ticket sales have increased every year since 2008. It's been going up by about a thousand every year."
Lance Grantham, Assistant AD for Ticket Operations
Regardless of season ticket sales over the next four weeks, Grantham is confident they'll still be selling out every home game thanks to the student ticket allotment, three and four game mini-pack ticket options, which go on sale July 28, as well as tickets held for sale to fans of visiting teams.
"From a historical perspective, last year was the first year we sold out all seven home games in the current configuration of Williams-Brice Stadium, which dates back to 1995," Grantham said. "So we want to keep that sellout streak going. Season ticket sales have increased every year since 2008. It's been going up by about a thousand every year."
South Carolina's average home attendance last year was 82,401. That's 2,000 more than the seating capacity. It's no wonder the Gamecocks own the longest home win streak in the FBS with 18 straight victories at Williams-Brice Stadium. That support also overflows to road games where allotted tickets for South Carolina fans are already being snatched up.
"Only a limited amount of away game tickets remain for purchase," said Patrick McFarland, Gamecock Club Director. "The Vanderbilt, Auburn and Clemson games have reached sell-out status and a limited supply remains for Florida and Kentucky. The remaining Florida ($85.00) and Kentucky ($50.00) tickets will be offered to Gamecock Club members only and will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis from August 1 until supplies last."
The desire to see the Gamecocks isn't limited to the gridiron however. Every ticketed sport at South Carolina saw an increase in attendance over the last year. Gamecock fans have always been loyal in filling up seats, but efforts of South Carolina's Marketing Department to increase student attendance has made a big difference.
"Combining student rewards with student attendance certainly helped," Grantham said. "Nobody is as loud or as into the game until the end as the students. The regular fans are always going to be there and are going to be loud and proud. The students supplement and add to everything we do in Athletics."
More fans also made their way to Stone Stadium, home of South Carolina men and women's soccer last fall. Attendance at men's games went up by 51% with an average of 1,405 fans per game, while attendance at women's soccer game enjoyed a staggering 89% increase with 1,360 fans per home game. The South Carolina Ticket Office has its foot on the gas pedal again this year, offering a combined season ticket package for the two sports for only $25 per person.
"Our home winning percentage is always excellent and that's due to the support that we have from the community in Columbia, and the state, and our students in particular," men's soccer coach Mark Berson said. "Our student-athletes play for their teammates, but they also play for their classmates. The students in the stands last year were probably the most dynamic, in terms of growth, that we've had. By far it was the best student support we've had in recent memory."
The Volleyball competition facility shattered its attendance record with 970 fans per match, which ranked fifth in the SEC, and the Colonial Life Arena has increasingly become the place to be for men and women's basketball. South Carolina ranked 10th nationally and third in the SEC by averaging 6,371 fans per home women's basketball game. The increase of more than 2,400 fans per game last year was the largest in all of NCAA women's basketball. After winning its first SEC Championship and earning a top seed in the NCAA Tournament last year, the Ticket Office is preparing for another record-shattering season.
"Getting over 6,000 per home game is incredible," Grantham says. "Now we're trying to get to that next level. We need to have seven-to-nine thousand people there every game. We've come really far, really fast, and that's a credit to Dawn Staley and her incredible staff. We're all proud to be part of that."
Men's basketball enjoyed the largest per game increase in the SEC (+1,471), averaging 10,074 fans per game. That was a 17% increase from the year before. The Gamecocks are already trying to put that number in the rear view mirror this year by launching their 8K in 8 Days campaign, for which they have set a goal to sell 8,000 season tickets.
"I can't tell you how excited I am," men's basketball coach Frank Martin said. "Season ticket sales went up last year, and that says a lot about the excitement of our fans, the work of our players and the work of our marketing department."
A school-record 5,957 season tickets were sold for home baseball games at Carolina Stadium last spring where South Carolina ranked second in the nation in total attendance and fifth nationally in average attendance. The baseball program eclipsed the 300,000 mark for this first time with a whopping 305,564 passing through gates on game day, helping the Gamecocks reach another 40-win season and hosting the NCAA regional.
Completion of the new softball stadium and a quickly improving team on the field not only resulted in South Carolina's second straight NCAA Tournament appearance, but also a school-record 789 season tickets sold in the spring. Carolina Softball Stadium holds just over 1,200 seats and also hosted the 2014 SEC Tournament.
"The baseball and softball facilities are great, and we get raves about them from fans," Grantham said. "Obviously the teams are doing very well, and the fan atmosphere is a perfect fit."
Don't miss your chance to support the Gamecocks. Find out more about season tickets for your favorite South Carolina sports at Gamecocksonline.com or call 800-4SC-FANS (800-472-3267). To join the Gamecock Club call (803) 777-4276. Gamecock Club members may submit away game ticket requests.