Arizona Cardinals' season ticket sales surge for 2024, team officials say

Inside the Arizona Cardinals' new business and creative content offices in Tempe, there's a tradition that is building.

Applause from ticket sales staff accompanied by music comes as season ticket sales are locked in. And it's happening a lot this offseason. As of late last week, the team had sold out its entire inventory of lower bowl season tickets with about 2,000 left in the State Farm Stadium club and terrace (upper deck) levels.

On May 1, the Cardinals surpassed their season ticket sales total for all of the 2023 calendar year, and according to a league metric, are No. 3 in the NFL in new season ticket sales.

All of this is indicative of the fan enthusiasm and satisfaction about the Cardinals' selection of wide receiver Marvin Harrison, Jr. with the fourth overall draft pick last month, the strong finish to last season that seemed to renew hope among fans and a reconstructed team roster designed to align with the second-year coaching staff's philosophy.

Cardinals principal owner and president Michael Bidwill said the club's investment in improving the stadium and its surrounding grounds is a factor along with the team's football side moves. Those latter decisions include hiring General Manager Monti Ossenfort and head coach Jonathan Gannon. The hiring of Jeremy Walls as CEO last August modernized the team's business side, as Walls brought in 65 new employees and moved business operations to Tempe.

Bidwill also cited expansion of the team's sports science and health and wellness programs, a response to the past two NFL Players Association surveys and report cards. The Cardinals didn't grade high overall last season or this offseason in the various report card categories, but the change in culture implemented by the new regime on the football side led to improvement in grades from one year to the next.

"We've got more things coming," Bidwill said.

Walls said excitement was building even before the draft.

"We already were on this pace. That's just the sugar on top, having Marvin here and the excitement around him and our fans, we've just seen the response. In general, they're just happy with what Michael and Monti and 'JG' have done over the last couple of years in the draft," Walls said.

Larger staff, more attention to season ticket holders

This year is the fastest the Cardinals have sold out the lower level for season tickets since after the team's Super Bowl 43 appearance in 2009, Walls said.

"Why are we so ahead (with sales)? The football side is a big part of it,'' Walls said. "On the business side, every single season ticket holder has a dedicated service rep(resentative). They (buyers) get the longest payment plan they've ever had before, so now they can spread it out over time. To move their seats this year it was all digital, so it was very easy for them. And then we're also providing a 10 percent discount at concessions for the first time. So we're just trying to enhance the experience."

A limited number of single-game and group tickets still will be available after the NFL schedule is released. The Cardinals have an announcement related to group ticket sales forthcoming, and while Walls and Bidwill know they can't completely eliminate the presence of visiting team fans inside State Farm Stadium for games, more season ticket sales to local fans means more Cardinals' red in the seats.

Oct 8, 2023; Glendale, Arizona, United States; Fans cheer from the stands as the Arizona Cardinals take on the Cincinnati Bengals at State Farm Stadium.
Oct 8, 2023; Glendale, Arizona, United States; Fans cheer from the stands as the Arizona Cardinals take on the Cincinnati Bengals at State Farm Stadium.

"We had that run in 2021 when we were really hot, with the best record in the league for a period of time," Bidwill said. "So we had strong interest then. But I think what happens is because tickets are digital, it's not just State Farm Stadium, it's every stadium in the National Football League, our fans go on the road. Every stadium is experiencing the same thing. We saw maybe a little more of that last year than we wanted to see, so we're really working hard on this, and I think it's going according to plan."

The Cardinals made some changes to the seating configuration earlier this year inside State Farm Stadium by adding upscale on-field and end zone seating, including "casitas" in the south end zone. Those new seating areas are under construction and should be ready for the 2024 regular season.

Walls said roughly 50 percent of those new luxury seats have been sold, on track with what the team expected.

Improving the public image

The Cardinals have been hit with some negative publicity over the past couple of years, including a number of former staff members' personal matters becoming public. But in general, fans seem willing to overlook those things if the team is improving and the fan experience is improved, and part of that started with the new office space and its employee-friendly environment and layout, a couple of blocks north of the main facility.

"We're having a lot of fun as a business and as an organization," Walls said. "It's been fun to see the fans respond to that."

"It doesn't feel like you're going to work. It's like you're hanging out with friends and being productive," Bidwill said.

Chief People Officer Shaun Mayo and Vice President of Ticket Sales Joel Adams were instrumental in enlarging the business staff. New employees had to be interviewed, hired and trained in a short amount of time.

Fans are being supportive of Ossenfort's moves — hence the "Let Monti Cook" sentiment — and Gannon's energy, which he put on public display earlier this year when he made ticket sales calls from inside the new space.

It's all led to higher interest in the Cardinals locally, and the direct result seems to be an increase in season ticket sales.

"Full team effort, marketing, creative, everybody," Walls said.

Zay Jones signed, draft pick reportedly inks deal

The Cardinals on Monday officially announced the signing of veteran wide receiver Zay Jones to a one-year contract. Jones reportedly agreed to sign late last week. The team also signed third-round draft pick Elijah Jones (cornerback) to a contract, according to NFL insider Aaron Wilson. The multi-year contract is worth $5.685 million and includes a $954,920 signing bonus.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Season ticket sales surge among Arizona Cardinals' fans