By Jimmy Hyams
Tennessee’s football season-ticket numbers have been on a downward trend in recent years.
You can blame Covid. You can blame mediocre football. You can blame technology.
But when you’ve got an exciting product to put on the field, those numbers will jump.
And that’s what has happened at Tennessee.
After a 7-6 record in which the Vols set a school record for points scored, Tennessee has seen a huge spike in season tickets.
UT has sold 58,871 season tickets so far, exceeding the goal of UT athletics director Danny White, who announced last month he wanted to sell 56,000 this year.
With a month to go, 60,000 is clearly within reach.
White might have to revisit his goals of 61,000 for 2023 and 68,000 for 2024.
In 2021, after the debacle of a 3-7 season and self-reported NCAA violations, Tennessee sold only 52,236 season tickets. By comparison, UT sold what’s believed to be a record 73,111 in 2016.
In 2019, the pre-Covid year, Tennessee sold 62,560 season tickets.
Also, Tennessee has sold a record 16,781 to new season-ticket buyers – 168 percent more than the goal of 10,000. The old record for new season ticket sales, since it’s been recorded, was 7,502 in 2015.
In a UT release, White praised UT fans.
“Vol Nation has made an extraordinarily strong statement about their excitement for this team,’’ White said. “.. There are very few fanbases worldwide capable of delivering that rate of growth.
“That unwavering commitment and support from our fans sends an extremely powerful message to our current players – along with the country’s top recruits – about the possibilities and opportunities that exist for student-athletes here at Tennessee.’’
Fans can purchase season tickets by calling 865-974-1218 or visiting AllVols.com
Tennessee opens the season Sept. 1 by hosting Ball State.