August 29, 2018

UConn football ticket sales drag as new season kicksoff

HBJ File Photo
HBJ File Photo
Attendance at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford has dropped by 48 percent since 2008.

Seven consecutive losing seasons for UConn football are being felt at the ticket office.

UConn has sold just 9,000 season tickets before its season opener Thursday night at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford against defending American Athletic Conference champion University of Central Florida (UCF), team officials said. That represents a 44 percent decrease vs. 16,000 season tickets the school sold in 2017.

UConn begins the season against perhaps its two toughest opponents -- No. 21 ranked UCF and on the road vs. No. 22 Boise State University. A team spokesman on Tuesday said UConn has sold 17,000 tickets for opening day, leaving 23,000 seats unsold.

The team during six games last year drew an average of 20,335 fans a game at the 40,000-seat stadium. UConn's attendance has dropped by 48.2 percent since it peaked in 2008 when it averaged 39,331 fans per game, according to the NCAA.

UConn averaged 26,796 fans a game in 2016, 28,224 in 2015 and 27,461 in 2014.

Head coach Randy Edsall is entering his 14th season leading the team, which is beginning its 15th season at Pratt & Whitney Stadium. The team has sold out 31 games there, but has not reached capacity since it hosted Michigan in 2013.

After the team's second consecutive 3-9 season last year, UConn in February announced it would reduce season ticket prices by 10 percent and cut family section tickets by an average of 28 percent. Season ticket packages now range from $96 to $390.

The stadium's operators, Spectra Food Service, last week said it will feature Stratford's Two Roads Brewing Co. at a tap house stand incorporating handcrafted food and a brewhouse in Section 107 featuring Boston's Sam Adams.

Two food-truck vendors were also added: Greek'n Out Food Truck serving chicken and pork gyros and grilled souvlaki, and in Section 135, Middletown's The Whey Station Stand, featuring gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.

The team's remaining 2018 home schedule includes University of Rhode Island, University of Cincinnati, University of Massachusetts, Southern Methodist University and Temple University.

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