UTEP Football 2018 Ticket Revenue Surpasses 2017 Season Through Three Games
Although the UTEP football team drew just 12,809 fans the last time the Miners played a home game against North Texas--the lowest since 1993--the football program has already surpassed the total ticket revenue from the 2017 season through only three home games.
UTEP Athletic Director Jim Senter stopped by SportsTalk about two weeks ago to discuss the low attendance numbers from the previous game and explained the increase in revenue on the show.
Through an open records request obtained by 600 ESPN El Paso, it was found that UTEP football has already generated $270,201 in ticket revenue through three home games (Northern Arizona, NMSU & North Texas), while last year's revenue totaled at $248,913.50. UTEP has increased their revenue per game by over $21,000, as they are averaging $90,067 in ticket revenue per game in 2018 and averaged $49,782.70 through each of their five home games in 2017.
These numbers do not include the three remaining home games the Miners have coming up (UAB, Middle Tennessee & Southern Miss).
At this rate, the Miners ticket revenue could surpass $540,000 this season, which would more than double last season's finish.
The program is also on pace to break the total number of ticket sales from last season. Through the Kugler-Price regime in 2017, the program sold 17,829 total tickets (averaging 3,565.8 sold per game), and this year there have been 16,518 tickets purchased for the past three games (an average of 5,506 tickets sold per game). If they can continue to draw this consistent crowd, the Athletic Department could be looking at about 33,000 tickets sold this season, nearly doubling last year's total.
However, UTEP's amount of season ticket holders dropped this year from 9,258 sold last year to 8,257 this year.
Ticket prices in both seasons have been relatively similar. In early October of 2017, the Athletic Department dropped general admission ticket prices from $12 to $10, and it has remained the same price since. Season tickets started at $55 for both seasons as well.
Last season's home average attendance was 19,548, while this season has averaged 16,497 through three games.
What this all means is that the anxious reports of UTEP being in jeopardy of losing its FBS status is simply miscalculated at this point. Although FBS teams have a 15,000 minimum attendance to hit per year, the requirements are through a two-year rolling period, which out-right saves the Miners after this season even if they average around 12,800 per game to finish off the year. If the team continues to increase ticket revenue and increase ticket sales per game, there's no need to hit the panic button just yet.
It also seems as if the Athletic Department is now giving accurate attendance numbers for the Sun Bowl. Here are two separate tweets illustrating attendance from last year and this year:
The Oct. 6 tweet referenced the UTEP-North Texas matchup, which recorded 12,809 fans at the finish. The Nov. 18 game seemed like maybe the same people in attendance, but reported over 16,500 fans.
Senter told us that now the department is only calculating scanned tickets, which gives a more honest representation of how many people are in attendance. The difference in attendance could simply be more transparency by the athletic department.
Does UTEP have an attendance problem? Yes, but it's not something new, and the department seems to be going in the right direction to fix the issue. They probably want to crack the code as to why there aren't more fans at the game.
Put a winning product on the field, develop a more fan-friendly culture, do it consistently, and it could be the formula to succeeding in attendance numbers.