The Loyola men’s basketball team just finished a historic season, and while the offseason is just beginning, the ticket department isn’t taking a break as it looks to capitalize on the Ramblers’ success. Brian Day, the director of ticket operations, said season ticket sales are up 170 percent from last season and student attendance increased by 70 percent.
Day’s been working for the Loyola ticket department for five years. He said he’s doing everything he can to make the most of this increased demand.
“As soon as the last week of the season, when we had the sold-out game versus Illinois State, we began taking season ticket deposits for next year, which we’d never done before — at least not since I’ve been here — just because the demand hasn’t been there,” Day said. “We’ve seen a huge increase in our season ticket base already.”
Season ticket holders bring in more revenue for Loyola than students who have free access to all sporting events, according to Day. However, he said the ticket department’s focus is split between the two.
“Right now, our focus is on season ticket holders and growing that base and taking advantage of all that excitement,” Day said. “But throughout the summer, we’ll be having conversations about how to continue to build our student attendance. We nearly doubled our student attendance this year, as opposed to last year, and we anticipate a similar increase for next year.”
Although the students don’t directly contribute to Loyola’s ticket revenue, Day said he believes they offer value in the energy they bring and the atmosphere they create; this leads to a better overall experience for their paying customers.
“It creates such a great environment when the student section is full. Fans who are paying for tickets have a much better time when students are lively and engaged,” Day says, “They are more likely to come back to another game if they see a fun atmosphere, so it’s important to us to focus on the students as well as the general public.”
Creating a fun, energetic atmosphere isn’t exclusive to basketball. Day said he hopes the men’s basketball team’s success will draw more attention and crowds to some of Loyola’s other sports. Although the basketball team’s success came after most of Loyola’s other sports’ seasons started to wind down, he hopes they’ll see an increase in attendance next year.
“We hope to see an increase next year. I don’t know if we really saw it this year,” Day says, “I know we had a couple volleyball games that were right after our Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games. A lot of students were watching the basketball games in the Damen Student Center or Ireland’s and after the games were over, they came over and caught the volleyball games which, obviously, helped attendance at those games.”
Summer is just starting, but Loyola’s ticket department has already had a massive year. If the season started today, men’s basketball season ticket sales would be up 150 percent compared to last year. And, with still nearly six months to go until the season tips off, Day expects that number to rise.
“We feel like there is a lot of momentum that we’ll be able to capitalize on,” Day said. “We still have four or five months of season ticket sales to go so we’re definitely excited about that.”
As for what Day has in mind next year, he said he’s hoping for many more home games like the one versus Illinois State to end this past season.