Program seeks fan commitment
The University of Houston Athletic Department has enlisted the help of over 190 volunteers to sell season tickets and promote Cougar football in a new program called Seat ‘Em Up Coogs.
All volunteers signed “letters of intent” to meet sales goals and help the department sell at least 10,000 season tickets. Seat ‘Em Up Coogs already surpassed last year’s season ticket sales with 6,842 Cougar fans gearing up for this upcoming season. Head football coach Kevin Sumlin and Athletic Director Mac Rhoades delivered a simple message to volunteers stressing the importance of long-term fan support and season ticket sales.
“It’s important to have a strong season ticket base because it is important to have a following,” Senior Associate Athletic Director Darren Dunn said. “First, they become season ticket buyers and then they become donors for your program. And that’s why we’ve decided to focus on season tickets over donations; we need to get more people involved.”
Last year, the Cougars sold 6,310 season tickets. With two months left before kicking off the 2010 season, there are still seats that need to be filled.
“We don’t have enough salespeople because this city [is] so large,” Dunn said. “We have over 190 people because this city is so large. We have over 190 people as a part of this project that are out there aggressively selling. So we have a sales team of about 200 people that are talking about Cougar football and why you should come to games.”
People who buy season tickets automatically get a $25 gift certificate to the Cheesecake Factory, and are then entered into a drawing for several larger prizes donated by Avia International including business class tickets to Europe, trips to Cancun and to see the Cougars play UCLA at the Rose Bowl.
“I have been a supporter for many years and we have bought season tickets for many years. At the end of the day, Seat ‘Em up Coogs was an interesting program — brainchild of Mack Rhoades,” alumnus Matthew Forestieri said. “Not only is there amazing talent on the field and the team is fun to watch, but most businesses want incentives.”
In addition to the potential prizes volunteers can win, the volunteer who sells the most will be rewarded with a trip for two to attend Houston-Memphis game on Oct. 30. With last year’s success, Cougar fans have more to look forward to with the cast returning for the 2010 season. Dunn said that there would be an improved game-day experience this year.
“When you talk about trying to improve the entertainment value. You have a great value in itself because we have a great team,” Dunn said. “But when you think outside of the football game itself, we are going to dramatically improve our game entertainment experience.”
Dunn said that there would be more activities for children and families before, during and after games including fireworks, face painting, autographs and opportunities to meet Shasta and the cheerleaders. He also said that he hopes UH football reaches more than just students, faculty and alumni.
The athletic department offers a variety of different packages to fit fan’s convenience. Packages have been geared for a family audience and to satisfy fans of all ages.
“It’s a fun college atmosphere to be a part of. I think that in itself it is worth coming to whether you’re a UH alum or not,” Dunn said. “I think we have a tremendous product. I think if we can get them to come to some games, they’ll be fans for life, and they’ll want to keep coming back.”