Expectations for Northwestern in 2013 are higher than season in recent memory. The fans are buying in – no, like, literally: per NU’s athletic department, Northwestern has broken its all-time record for season-ticket sales, last set during the 1997 season that followed consecutive Big Ten championships in 1995 and 1996. At this rate, sales are expected to -- wait for it -- double the number sold in 2009. From the release:
"Achieving an all-time season ticket sales record for Northwestern Football was a goal that was set for this department, and it's a credit to the leadership of the University as well as our outstanding staff that we have met that standard," said Northwestern Assistant A.D. for Marketing Ryan Chenault. "At the same time, we know that our work is far from finished and that there is a better end destination ahead for Northwestern Athletics. We encourage all fans of college athletics to experience Northwestern Football in person this fall and be part of a family-friendly gameday atmosphere at Ryan Field."
The news serves as an encouraging counterpoint to yesterday’s study deeming Northwestern’s fan base the worst in the Big Ten. By various measures, that label may well be warranted, but it’s hard to deny the program’s recent success – on the field, in recruiting, and on the marketing side (thanks in large part to the now two-years-old “Chicago’s Big Ten Team” theme) – is chipping away at the negative perception of an apathetic fan base unresponsive to its program’s recent uptick in performance.
Just another sign that Northwestern, as the saying goes, is moving in the right direction.