Nevada Wolf Pack basketball season ticket sales rising
On the rise in a big way.
That describes both the Nevada basketball program and ticket sales to watch the team that has been ranked as high as fourth nationally in early season projections.
After posting a school-record tying 29 wins last season and reaching the Sweet 16 for the second time in school history, the Pack is enjoying the fruits of its labor.
Since Eric Musselman started in the 2015-16 season, Pack season ticket sales has increased from a base (full season tickets) of 4,265 to 5,835. That last number didn’t include another 970 tickets bought through mini-plans last season.
Chad Hartley, assistant athletic director and head of the communications department, said the school has received 1,200 new season ticket applications, and that comes with a non-refundable $99 price tag. Hartley said the renewal process started about a month ago, and the school will know later this month exactly what seats will be available this coming season.
“It’s been pretty consistent since the season ended,” said Rory Hickok, who oversees the basketball program as Nevada’s deputy athletic director under Doug Knuth. “Our goal going into next season is to have 1,700 new season ticket-holders. At this point we’re at 1,200. I’m optimistic. We’ll be really aggressive leading up to the season.”
According to published reports, the school received 200 new season-ticket requests after Cody and Caleb Martin announced they were coming back for their senior seasons.
Nevada has raised its ticket prices, according to Hickok. He said the increase varies by section and seat locations. Hickok pointed out even with the increase, the Pack still trails San Diego State, New Mexico, and in some cases, UNLV.
“Ideally, we’d like to sell out every single game,” Hickok said. “We are quite a ways from that right now. Overall, attendance has been the best ever.
“This is stronger (excitement and interest) than in the mid-2000s when we made our run of four straight tournaments.”
The Pack averaged nearly 9,000 a game last year, and Hickok says the department is always looking for new and creative ways to get more people in the building. With the pre-season hype, there’s no reason to believe the Pack can’t get 10,000 into Lawlor every night.
The home schedule, besides the Mountain West foes, includes BYU, UOP, Arkansas Little-Rock, South Dakota State and Cal Baptist, which is transitioning into the WAC next season. One more home game is expected to be added.
The Nevada basketball program is heavy into social media, and Hartley believes that’s one reason for the Pack’s popularity on and off the court.
“I think it has certainly helped,” Hartley said. “And, coach Musselman’s willingness to do it helps.”
“I think people feel more connected,” Hickok said. “Obviously Muss is really great at it.”
Social media back when Nevada made its four straight NCAA appearances wasn’t as prevalent as it is now. Schools get their news out immediately and usually with video attached. Nevada uses it as well as anybody in the country, especially in the announcement of Jordan Brown agreeing to come to Nevada, and the twins, Cody and Caleb Martin, announcing they were coming back.
Musselman has put together three straight 20-plus win seasons, and many pundits believe a 30-win season isn’t out of the question.
Nevada faces a daunting task when it comes to scheduling. Power 5 schools have played in Reno, but mostly on 2-for-1 contracts (North Carolina, Kansas and Washington). Hickok believes that shouldn’t be the case any longer.
Nevada just agreed on a home-and-home series earlier this week with USC with the first game being played on Dec. 1 in Los Angeles. Hickok also said Nevada is in talks with another Power 5 school on a home and home. Certainly Stanford, with its head coach Jerod Haase having gone to South Tahoe High School, would draw some interest.
Nevada used to host a tournament back in the day, and Hickok said the school has had preliminary talks with a potential promoter/sponsor. He said the earliest that could happen would be 2020.