Check out this bit from the Washington Times about the sale of UNC's allotment of tickets for the Maryland game this weekend:
According to senior associate athletic director for external operations Brian Ullmann, the school has sold about 47,500 tickets. That would at least ensure the Terps draw more than their last two home games, which were against Wake Forest (46,257) and N.C. State (45,018).
Nearly three-quarters of the unsold tickets come from a 4,000-seat block set aside for the visiting team. North Carolina has accounted for approximately 1,100 tickets, which is less than the 1,200 both N.C. State and Wake Forest sold for their games last month.
An educated guess as to why sales would be so tepid for fans of a 7-2 team enjoying its best season in a decade? Well, the top-ranked Carolina basketball team opens its season Saturday at 4 p.m., meeting Penn in the Dean Dome.
StateFansNation picked this up, as did Every Day Should Be Saturday. Both blogs immediately shuffled through the deck of cards and found the "UNC fans don't give a crap about football" card and EDSBS went a step further and also played the "Why Would Butch Davis Want To Stay At UNC" card. Not really a surprise but something does not make sense with the facts presented. Let's look at what the articles says.
1. Maryland has sold more tickets for this game(47,500) than they did for Wake Forest or NC State.
2. UNC's allotment is 4000 of which they have sold 1100 at the time of publication.
3. Wake Forest and NC State both sold 1200 tickets of their allotment which we know to be a final number not one conjured up three days before the game.
Those are the facts which led to these conclusions.
1. The ticket sales on UNC's part are tepid because UNC is 7-2 and one would think that would mean more sales from their end despite the fact it seems to be on same pace as the other two NC schools who have played at College Park.
2. The reason the sales are tepid is because UNC is also playing a basketball game in Chapel Hill at 4 PM while the football game is being played at 3:30 PM.
Here is my question.
Why is UNC having 1100 tickets sold three days before the game called "tepid" whereas NCSU and Wake selling 1200 is no problem?
The writer argues the expectation was UNC would sell more tickets because they are enjoying a successful season but Wake Forest is also enjoying a successful season and they sold the same amount. Of course the response to that is Wake Forest commands a much smaller fan base. Okay, then explain why NCSU had the same number of ticket sales? Is it because they have not been very good? That could be but then again, NCSU fans are well know for their loyalty and willingness to fill up Carter Finley week in and week out despite their record so pardon me if I do not buy that reasoning so much either.
The is an actual answer to this quandry is if you could compare the pace of ticket sales up until now. Why is that important? Because no one knew football would conflict with basketball until the game time was announced 10 days ago. If there was a sudden downturn in ticket sales once folks realized basketball and football would be playing at the same time, then there is merit to the argument. If however the sales have held steady or if UNC is actually outperfoming Wake and NCSU in sales over the past 10 days then the argument is poppycock.
I think it is poppycock anyway because it tries to link the number of tickets sold to the fact UNC is playing basketball at the same time without acknowledging the fact that UNC's level of sales is the same as two other NC schools. If you are looking at this data, the most logical conclusion you draw if you did not know UNC was also playing basketball at the same time is that fans of NC school simply do not attend their team's games at College Park, MD. Of course the problem with that is it does not fit with the narrative that UNC fans do not care about football and journalists will latch onto the easy meme rather than make a legitimate conclusion based on the facts. This past election cycle has taught us that and sports journalism is the same way, just watch ESPN for more than 15 minutes. For bloggers like SFN and EDSBS, it is also part of their narrative and in the case of the former red meat for their readers to make hay of this. And I might do the same thing if I did not have to highly successful teams to cover.
Anyway, if any of you have connections to folks at UNC or anyone from UNC happens to be reading this and can tell me how much of the allotment has been sold as of today I would love to post it.
Side Note: What would be interesting is comparing the ratings of the two games in North Carolina. The problem with that is UNC-Penn is on Fox Sports and UNC-MD is on ABC so the football game will garner larger numbers. As for me I am going to try my level best to watch both flipping back and forth. The overlap here might not be so bad because you can likely see most of the 1st quarter of the football game and then watch the basketball game in spurts. If the halftimes fall just right you can see plenty of chunks that way. Or better yet record the basketball game, watch the football game, then watch the basketball later just to see how well they played. They may be where I ultimately end up since blogging analysis requires I watch some of the games.