Louisiana-Monroe athletic director Brian Wickstrom has said an email where he questioned the ability of his school’s fans to pay for season tickets if the school had six home games was poorly phrased.
The email became public earlier this week. From The News-Star:
According to the email, which was sent to every Sun Belt Conference athletic director on April 26, Wickstrom wrote: “… it has probably been more than 15 years since they have had 6 home games at ULM. Our fans can’t afford to pay for a season ticket with 6 home games.”
Wickstrom spoke with The News-Star Thursday and called the email “bad wording,” clarifying that he hopes to add a home game with either an FBS or FCS team in 2019 that would generate more fan interest.
The email stems from ULM’s cancellation of a 2019 home game with New Mexico. The school has bought out the game because of a potential lack of local interest. Would fans pay more for their season tickets because New Mexico is on the schedule? Wickstrom isn’t sure and told the News-Star that he thinks “we’d raise them too much where they wouldn’t want to buy season tickets.”
ULM’s most expensive season ticket (outside of a donation to the athletic department) is $175. To put that cost into perspective thanks to SEC Country, it’s less than a season ticket at 12 of 14 SEC schools and as much as tickets at Kentucky cost. Only Vanderbilt ($120) has cheaper season tickets.
As the athletic director of a group of five school that doesn’t get significant television revenue, Wickstrom has to do a lot of number crunching regarding athletic income. A big source of that income are games on the road vs. Power Five schools who pay to play ULM.
The Warhawks have traveled to Oklahoma already this season and visit Auburn on Oct. 1. while playing games at Georgia and Alabama in 2015. Because of those pay-to-play games, ULM typically plays five home games a season.
Wickstrom would love to decrease his school’s reliability on those games where his team gets paid to play Power Five teams. But to do that, he has to maximize all he can from local revenue. It’s not possible if he loses a portion of his season-ticket base.
ULM went 2-11 in 2015 (the Warhawks traveled to Hawaii). The school is currently 1-2 in 2016 and is off in Week 4.
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