I only have a few quick notes this week as the team attempts to find their offense and keep the defensive dominance going for a third consecutive week.
There was some good news that came out of the Minnesota game two weeks ago and that was attendance. While there were still about 11,000 empty seats and a half-full student section, the official attendance of 36,587 was a 40% increase from Minnesota’s last visit in 2011. That game was played in mid-November at the end of a pretty rough season and drew just 26,215.
We’re down to just two remaining home games. End zone seats for the Michigan game are sold out, but there are still a fair number of corner ($110) and sideline ($135 upper deck) seats available on NUPurplePricing.com. With Northwestern’s losing streak and Michigan’s defensive struggles, prices on the secondary market have fallen in the last month. StubHub currently shows 1,294 tickets to the Michigan game, which is not a lot, but the get-in price for a pair of tickets is $75 each before fees and shipping. That is barely above face value. The cheapest pair of sideline seats is going for $80 each before fees and shipping in row 52 of section 126. Face value for these tickets is $70. We’ll almost certainly have an official sellout, but if Michigan loses one of their next two games (at Michigan State, home vs. Nebraska), prices on the secondary market may continue to fall leading up to gameday. I’m expecting Michigan fans to buy up any cheap seats regardless of what happens in Lincoln on Saturday, similar to what happened when we hosted Nebraska last season.
Only 32,172 saw the 2011 regular season finale between the 11th ranked Spartans and the 6-5 Wildcats. That was a big drop from the 41,115 that entered Ryan Field in October of 2010 to see 5-1 Northwestern host an 8th ranked Michigan State. The current seat availability on NUSports.com looks pretty similar to what we saw against Minnesota and the get-in price on StubHub for a pair of tickets is $19 each before fees and shipping, so we’ll probably only top 40,000 if Michigan State keeps winning. They host Michigan and travel to Nebraska between now and the game on November 23. Again, expect the cheap tickets to be bought by Michigan State fans.
Finally, it’s worth calling out the efforts of the season ticket sales staff with basketball season right around the corner. No numbers have been released and I cannot find any past figures with which to establish a benchmark, but Northwestern announced via email and Twitter a couple of weeks ago that men’s basketball season ticket sales are at an all-time high. They stated that only “limited” availability for season ticket sales remain, but this is likely because they just put individual tickets to non-conference games on sale last Thursday.