Success on the football field has led to increased attendance at Folsom Field this season.
On Tuesday, Colorado athletic director Rick George said the department is looking to “exceed our attendance goals for this year.”
Given the struggles of the football team over the past decade, the attendance goals have been modest in recent years, but to this point, the Buffs (4-2, 2-1 Pac-12) are playing at a level that is drawing more fans to the stadium.
Already this season, the Buffs have had their most attended game (46,839 fans on Oct. 1 vs. Oregon State) and most attended home opener (39,505 on Sept. 10 vs. Idaho State) of the four-year MacIntyre era.
CU has already sold more than 44,000 tickets for Saturday’s game against ASU, so there’s a good chance it will top the Oregon State game.
“We made a real effort to get out there and market and do a lot of grassroots things in our communities to get people excited about what we’re doing,” George said.
George also pointed out the impact of the decision to lower the price of the student sports pass from $175 to $99. After selling about 7,000 student passes last year, the Buffs have sold more than 9,000 this year and there’s hope that number will reach 10,000.
In 18 home games from 2013-15, the Buffs hit the 40,000 attendance mark just three times and topped 45,000 just twice (both against Oregon, in 2013 and 2015).
George said the objective now is to make the experience and atmosphere better for fans. The school will launch a “CU in 60” program, which will aim to get fans to the stadium 60 minutes prior to kickoff so there’s not a huge rush in the last minutes, because that can cause fans to miss the start, or get in too late to see Ralphie run. George said it’s also important to keep the students in the stands as long as possible.
“We want to get them in the game and get them early and stay long because I think they do create an atmosphere that’s really important to us,” he said.
For Saturday’s game, the parking lots will open at noon and the gates will open two hours before kickoff.
Brian Howell: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.