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IOWA CITY, Ia. – The University of Iowa is moving into its next phase of reviving football ticket sales, the most significant variable in how full Kinnick Stadium will get this fall on seven Saturdays.

With an expected decline in season-ticket purchases all but official, the push for selling single-game tickets is on.

"We know for us to reach our goals," said Rick Klatt, Iowa's associate athletic director for external relations, "we're going to have to get there through single-game sales."

On Thursday, Iowa will announce the offering of custom-built, three-game ticket packages in the south end zone, available for $157. Fans can select one game each from three pools:

One from the two night games (Sept. 19 vs. Pittsburgh or Nov. 14 vs. Minnesota);

One from the two other nonconference games (Sept. 5 vs. Illinois State or Sept. 26 vs. North Texas);

And one from the three remaining Big Ten Conference games (Oct. 10 vs. Illinois, Oct. 31 vs. Maryland or Nov. 21 vs. Purdue).

Those packages will go on sale Monday. At an average of $52.33 in the three-game bundle, that's actually a better per-seat deal than season tickets ($56.43 a seat, at the season-ticket holder cost of $395). Face value of adult tickets range from $55 to $65, depending on the game.

Iowa's stance, though, is that there is still greater value overall to being a season-ticket holder — such as seat selection and the first opportunity to buy tickets for road or bowl games.

Primary ticket goals for Iowa, as outlined by Klatt, are to grow sales and maintain a top-25 national attendance figure (Iowa ranked 22nd at 67,512 paying fans per game in 2014, a 0.6 percent increase from 2013).

The steepness of the single-game climb will be known as early as next week. Iowa sold 37,823 general-public season tickets last season, and athletic director Gary Barta has factored a sharp decline into budget plans. What the 2015 number is — Barta ball-parked it at around 30,000 in May — will be telling in how far away the Hawkeyes are from reaching Kinnick's capacity of 70,585.

As recently as 2011, Iowa sold out Kinnick for the entire season. It has one sellout (a 20-17 loss to Iowa State last year) the past two seasons.

In numbers provided by Iowa, total season-ticket sales over the past decade reached a high point in 2011 — with 55,457 combined buys among the general public (40,506), faculty/staff (4,438) and students (10,513). That left an average gap of roughly 15,000 for single-game tickets to reach sellout status, including the standard opponent's allotment of 4,000 for most games.

In 2014, combined season buys were 48,268 (down 13 percent from 2011). It's possible that the 2015 gap between season-ticket sales and capacity will hover around the 30,000 range — or twice that of 2011.

"I believe there's plenty of interest in the program that we can accomplish what we want to accomplish with single games," Klatt said. "Is it easier to reach sellout status with season-ticket customers? Of course it is. Will we do that again? I have no doubt. I'm blindly enthusiastic about our program and where we're going. Can we get there in a different way? Of course we can. It just takes a little bit more work and a little bit more investment."

Iowa knows it has ground to make up; a big effort has gone into group sales, which make up a significant portion of the single-game base. Klatt said that more than 1,000 group contacts have been made since March, and he expected that number to at least double before the Sept. 5 opener.

There are some positive signs. Season-ticket sales among students seem to be rebounding from last year's dip to 6,440 (from 10,513 in 2011). Iowa has seen a high rate of purchases among incoming freshmen — helped by a $50 discount (for a total of $125, or $17.86 per game) if a season ticket is purchased during ongoing summer orientation. Iowa offered that same incentive to students who renewed season tickets by mid-May.

"We're kind of looking at a pace that gives us reason to believe that our student sales will be up," Klatt said.

Soon, a seven-Saturday pregame concert series will be announced. Those musical acts will be known to Eastern Iowans, Klatt said, and will perform in the Krause Family Plaza area a few hours before kickoff.

That new move is geared toward students or single-game ticket-buyers who might not have regular tailgate destinations. Iowa also has been more aggressive in educating fans about the Hawkeye Express train (at $12 per adult) to avoid parking hassles and in April announced extended tailgating hours.

The ultimate tonic, though, to sluggish sales and filling Kinnick would be a few early-season wins. The Hawkeyes are 10-11 in their last 21 home games.

"We know we have to regain momentum," Klatt said. "Our job right now is to make sure there's no stone unturned."

IOWA FOOTBALL HOME SCHEDULE

The seven home Saturdays (with face value pricing). Three-game packages, available for $157 each, will go on sale Monday:

Sept. 5 — Illinois State, 11 a.m. ($55)

Sept. 19 — Pittsburgh, 7 p.m. ($65)

Sept. 26 — North Texas, TBA ($60)

Oct. 10 — Illinois, 11 a.m. ($65)

Oct. 31 — Maryland, TBA ($65)

Nov. 14 — Minnesota, 7 p.m. ($65)

Nov. 21 — Purdue, TBA ($65)

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