Excitement surrounding the Missouri men’s basketball program has perhaps never been higher. There’s monetary proof.
The MU athletic department announced Tuesday, three days before the Tigers open their season at home against Iowa State, that public season tickets have sold out. The total number sold, 9,572, is a Mizzou Arena record and almost a 4,000-ticket increase over last season’s total.
Including the sale of 6,028 student season ticket combos, which provide students tickets to both men’s basketball and football, the athletic department has sold 15,600 season tickets, nearly 600 more than Mizzou Arena’s capacity. Tickets are often oversold because students must claim their basketball seats. There will only be 4,000 student tickets available for games at Mizzou Arena.
Missouri has not sold more student tickets since the 2013-14 season, when students purchased 6,816 of them. Mizzou lost in the second round of the NIT to end that season, and coach Frank Haith left for Tulsa.
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“We are looking forward to seeing the excitement and energy at Mizzou Arena this season, and are extremely grateful for all Mizzou fans who have purchased season tickets for the upcoming season,” Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk said in a release. “I am confident that our fans will provide the Tigers with a tremendous home court advantage this winter.”
Over the past three seasons, under former coach Kim Anderson, Missouri was one of the country’s worst Power Five basketball programs. But the arrival of top recruit Michael Porter Jr., who headlined first-year coach Cuonzo Martin’s top-five recruiting class, has reinvigorated the Tigers fan base.
Martin has not tried to tame that energy. He has said Missouri fans deserve to feel optimistic after enduring years of losing.
“It’s exciting for our fans,” Martin said last month of the hype surrounding his team. “Even for our players — returning players had had some tough times — it’s exciting.”
MU student tickets for Missouri’s charity exhibition game against Kansas last month at the Sprint Center sold out within a minute. As of Tuesday afternoon, the cheapest ticket available for Friday’s game against Iowa State on secondary market site SeatGeek was listed at $131.
The support from fans that the Tigers are experiencing now feels foreign to holdovers from the Anderson era, who often played in front of a more-than-half-empty Mizzou Arena.
“It used to be pretty easy to get tickets to a Mizzou basketball game,” junior forward Kevin Puryear, from Blue Springs, said at October’s SEC Tipoff event. “I’m extremely excited, campus is extremely excited. All my friends on campus are happy to see Mizzou in a positive light. I’m happy to see Mizzou in a positive light. You know, we haven’t played our first game yet. So that’s what we’re working toward right now. We can’t really buy into the hype, but we’re excited and thrilled that people are happy for us.”