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A post circulating online has led some to claim Tennessee ticket sales are lagging with the team’s record, which has slipped to 3-2.
Posted on the College Football thread on Reddit, an email from the university offers students eight additional tickets, citing "modest demand/claims." Some commenters took this to be a sign of a season in trouble.
So are ticket sales falling for the Vols?
10News reached out to the UT athletic department for ticket sales data. At their last home game, they fell to Georgia before a capacity crowd – 102,455.
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The university says to date, 96,000 tickets have been sold for Saturday’s matchup with South Carolina.
Tom Satkowiak, assistant athletic director for media relations, said it’s difficult to compare attendance year to year. Many factors can affect the total, including the other team's allotment, both schools' records, weather and kickoff times.
That said, the following chart shows the number of tickets sold the last three times the Gamecocks came to Neyland, matching with the kickoff time.
Satkowiak said he believes noon start times lead to lower student attendance. He declined to provide someone to discuss attendance in person, but sent to following statement.
“Across all sports, our student-athletes often reference the passion and support of the Tennessee fan base as a meaningful component of their student-athlete experience," said Satkowiak. "For football, that tradition of incredible support is evidenced by our current rank of sixth nationally in average home attendance.”
Tennessee listed their 2016 season attendance numbers here.
All Home Games
For context, UT saw 99,015 tickets sold for Indiana State; 95,324 at UMass and 102,455 for the Georgia Bulldogs. That puts their average home game attendance at 98,931, according to Satkowiak – 6th in the NCAA for attendance.
10News verified that figure with the NCAA, which has ranked the Vols similarly for the past few years.
In 2016, the NCAA listed Tennessee average home game attendance at 100,968.
The email offering extra tickets to students, Satkowiak said, came from UT's Division of Student life, not athletics. He did verify its authenticity though.
He said last season, additional tickets were offered at four games: Ohio, Tennessee Tech, Kentucky and Missouri. This year, the same offer has been extended for Indiana State, UMass and South Carolina.
"...The limit (at least in recent history) is always eight," Satkowiak said.
The prices of tickets to the South Carolina game are trending down. Some seats in the upper decks are selling for about $21 on UT’s official ticket sales partner, VividSeats. The same section is currently trending around $81 with the Louisiana State game. Prices were similar on StubHub and Seatgeek.
10News can Verify, at 96,000 tickets, sales for the South Carolina game are below last season's average (100,968) and this season's average (98,931), but it is about same as the UMass attendance. However, any number of factors could be impacting this number, and there's no way to directly tie sales trends to the team's performance.