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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 3

Gold and Black is a multi-platform media company that covers Purdue athletics like no one else.

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 3 50 season ticket sales. "Due to several factors, it is much harder for every- one in college sports to sell season tickets than it was 10 years ago," Butikofer said. "The value of season tickets is important, and it is important we treat those season ticket-holders well." Butikofer said that two of the new staff members will be in the ticket office focused on service and retention and will engage with season ticket-holders. "We want to be proactive, so it doesn't seem like we are only reaching out when we need a check," Butikofer said. "If we have a season ticket holder call in and say, 'My cousin is coming in for a game and needs two ex- tra tickets. Can you help me?' We want to accommodate them. "The John Purdue Club takes care of that with its do- nors, but we can do that too to add value for all of our season ticket-holders. On the flipside, we have had a lot of people fall off the season-ticket wagon the last cou- ple years, so we have really tried to market to them to sway them back. With the increased sales staff, we will aggressively try to regain that business, whether that is for one game or the whole season. That is all part of the method and plan for 2018." Chris Peludat, who has been at Purdue since 2011 and is Associate AD for Marketing and Fan Experience, knows it will be important to hit the ground running early with the four straight home games to kick off the season. "I would rather be front-loaded with our schedule than back-loaded," Peludat said. "But it means we have to get it done this September. You're going to sell the majority of your tickets by the end of September, outside of the October meeting with Ohio State." Student season ticket sales, offered through the $99 Boarding Pass (which includes access to basketball and volleyball tickets in addition to football) reached 8,792 in '17, up from 7,500 the year before. "We would consider capping Boarding Pass sales in the 9,000-9,500 range," said Peludat, who never thought two years ago that a cap of any kind would be even be possible, let alone considered. "That would leave 2,000 seats that we could sell individually. We allow students who don't buy the Boarding Pass to buy tickets individually, and we want to continue doing that." AGGRESSIVE APPROACH PAID DIVIDENDS IN 2017 Peludat places priority on students and general public alike being able to sample the product even if they are not season ticket holders. That philosophy was also a factor in athletic director Mike Bobinski's and Butikofer's aggres- sive approach to discounting tickets on the fly for several games in 2017. "It is important to our philosophy of getting people in the stands," Butikofer said. "From what I had seen during the first month of practice and at the Louisville game, I knew that we had an exciting product. From a sales per- spective, we won't devalue our tickets, but we may need to be unique in how we market and present ourselves in our offerings. It's about getting people in the stands to see a winner and experiencing an exciting Big Ten football game. "We are looking at some creative opportunities to get people to buy tickets in areas where we have struggled Amazing Turnaround A quick glance at Purdue's sales figures on a per- game comparison from 2016 to 2017: 2016 2017 Increase Tickets $625K $1.03M 65% Merchandise $46K $58K 26% Concessions $167K $312K 87% Parking $39.8K $45.5K 14.3% Totals $877K $1.45M 65.3% Source: Purdue athletics* * Unaudited figures, subject to change Charles Jischke Even during lean times, student support has been relatively strong. But in 2017, it increased nearly 20 percent.

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