By Mickey Furfari
For the Times West Virginian
Season-ticket sales for West Virginia University’s 2013 football season are nearly 4,000 less than they were a year ago.
That’s the word from Matt Wells, the school’s director of sports marketing.
He said about 32,150 have been sold thus far. He estimated last year’s total of season ticket sales at about 36,000.
“That’s approximately 9 or 10 percent below what we sold last year following a 10-3 record in 2011, when season-ticket sales were similar to the current number,” according to Wells.
Most observers believing sales are down this year because the Mountaineers finished with a deeply disappointing 7-6 record in 2012 and also as a result of higher ticket prices.
Thousands of longtime, loyal WVU fans say they no longer can afford to purchase tickets in the second year of the Big 12 Conference membership.
However, Wells noted that selling 32,150 to date is comparable to the season-ticket totals in 2010 and 2011.
“We think it’s a strong showing and has been for football over the last 20-25 years.”
With a lower fan base, West Virginia’s expectations can’t be as high as they were going into last season.
In Dana Holgorsen’s second year as a head coach, you may recall that the Mountaineers went from a 5-0 start and No. 5 national rank to a shocking five straight defeats and the 7-6 record.
That has to be the most damaging drop in West Virginia football history. And it happened, despite the presence of three of the all-time greatest players. Who could ever forget that terrific trio?
Geno Smith was the greatest passer, Tavon Austin the greatest four-way scorer and Stedman Bailey one of the greatest receivers and record-breakers that I’ve ever seen.
All three were high picks in the 2013 National Football League draft. Smith was taken by the New York Jets and the other two by St. Louis.
Losing those three superstars and some 20 other contributors, it is downright difficult to envision WVU winning many football games in the Big 12 this fall.
Any guesses out there on what the record might be at season’s end?