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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, June 25, 2009

UH-WSU game not a hot ticket just yet

by Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Staff Writer

Despite what a Web site said are ticket sales "far behind the pace" of 2008 and "on track to rival the lowest attendance level" of its Gridiron Classic, Washington State University projects "between 45,000-50,000" for a Sept. 12 football game against Hawai'i in Seattle.

Sales for the nonconference game at Qwest Field were at 11,321 this week, according to http://www.cougfan.com. A school spokesman confirmed the figure yesterday but estimated sales could hit 50,000.

http://www.Cougfan.com said sales are "about 5,000 seats behind where things stood for Oklahoma State last year (which drew 50,830) and almost exactly where sales stood at this point in 2006 when WSU eventually drew 41,358 for Baylor."

The Baylor game was the smallest crowd in the annual Gridiron Classic that began at Qwest Field in 2002.

In venturing off its Pullman, Wash. campus to play in the 67,000-seat home of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks, the Cougars have averaged 51,408 per date, topped by 63,588 to see ex-Saint Louis quarterback Jason Gesser lead a 31-7 victory over Nevada in 2002.

UH and WSU said they hope upcoming promotional campaigns will boost sales and lure fans from Hawai'i and transplants living on the Mainland.

UH, which said it will have at least 2,250 tickets in a special Warrior section to sell for the WSU game, is expected to announce a "Road Warrior" ticket package as soon as this week. The plan will benefit 'Ahahui Koa Anuenue athletic scholarship fund and include tickets for other UH road appearances, including the Sept. 19 game at Nevada-Las Vegas.

http://www.Cougfan.com quoted WSU officials as saying that for every 5,000 fans WSU draws to the game the school "generates roughly $150,000 in revenue." It quoted an official as saying, "The difference between drawing 41,000 fans vs. selling out is financially significant, about $750,000 ..."

UH is contracted to receive $300,000 for the game, which is a return of the Cougars' appearance at Aloha Stadium in 2008.