The Iowa athletics director now is targeting a Purdue sellout crowd for Senior Day.
IOWA CITY, Ia. – As of Monday afternoon, there were 13,800 football tickets remaining for Iowa’s home finale Nov. 21 against Purdue. To Gary Barta, that’s 13,800 too many.
The Iowa athletics director understands a trepidatious fan base that his department has been attempting to win back since season-ticket sales fell about 17 percent from last year. But he openly is campaigning now for Hawkeye fans to step up and fill Kinnick Stadium on senior day.
“Pay tribute to these seniors who have had an incredible comeback this year,” Barta said, “and fill the stadium one more time.”
Saturday’s 7 p.m. game against Minnesota is a sellout (70,585), Iowa’s second in the past three seasons. Average attendance in Iowa’s first five home games is 61,697, an 8.6 percent drop from the 67,512 average of 2014 – with a high of 66,693 against Illinois and a low of 56,041 against North Texas.
With not even 57,000 sold for the Purdue game, there is still a large canyon to cross for sellout status. But that represents a 6,200-ticket improvement since mid-October, so sales have started to heat up. It won't be determined until Saturday night whether Iowa plays at 11 a.m. or 2:30 p.m. vs. Purdue.
The lasting home memory of 2015 to date was Sept. 19 against Pittsburgh, from former Hawkeye Brett Greenwood’s emotional pregame walk to midfield to Marshall Koehn’s winning 57-yard field goal as time expired.
Iowa is 9-0 overall, including 5-0 at Kinnick – after losing three times at home to rivals (Iowa State, Wisconsin, Nebraska) last season. An electricity has come with winning, even if the stands aren’t full.
“The feel in Kinnick Stadium has been fun to see come back,” Barta said. “It definitely … is a home-crowd advantage.”
Iowa's approach is that it won't slash single-game ticket prices, viewing it as unfair to the season ticketholder, for any game. However, anyone purchasing four or more tickets who has a Hy-Vee Fuel Saver card would pay $47 a seat (a discount from $65 face value) and get a $30 Hy-Vee gift card. Also, season ticketholders can purchase additional seats for $30 apiece.
If Iowa beats Minnesota this week to improve to 10-0, it can clinch the Big Ten Conference’s West Division championship on its home turf against Purdue.
But more than that or making an attendance comeback, Iowa hopes fans will come to Kinnick to honor seniors such as Jordan Canzeri and Drew Ott.
“It’ll be Senior Day. There’s a lot still to happen between now and then, but there’s still so many tickets left for the Purdue game,” Barta said, “(It’s) what can we do to just get people to (say), ‘Let’s go. Let’s buy in.’ Let’s complete the cycle and sell Kinnick out for that last game.”
SATURDAY'S GAME, DEPTH-CHART NOTES
Matchup: No. 8 Iowa (9-0, 5-0 Big Ten) vs. Minnesota (4-5, 1-4)
When, where: 7 p.m. Saturday, Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City
TV: Big Ten Network (Announcers: Kevin Kugler, Matt Millen, Lisa Byington)
The line: Iowa is favored by 11.5
News and notes: The game is sold out. Fans can purchase some of more than 13,000 tickets remaining for the Nov. 21 Purdue game by calling 1-800-IA-HAWKS or visiting hawkeyesports.com. ... Jordan Canzeri (high ankle sprain) returned to the depth chart released Monday. Iowa's leading rusher is listed as sharing second-team status with Derrick Mitchell Jr. Akrum Wadley and LeShun Daniels Jr., who combined to rush for 198 yards in Saturday's 35-27 win at Indiana, are sharing the No. 1 spot. Canzeri has missed the last two games; he was cleared to play against Indiana but was withheld to give his ankle another week to heal.