Missouri has sold 55,000 tickets for its Southeastern Conference opener Saturday against Georgia, which is well short of Memorial Stadium’s capacity of 71,168.
Hoping to spur additional purchases, Mizzou Athletics on Wednesday announced a 25-hour flash sale, offering $25 reserved seats in the Tiger Deck, the upper deck on the east side of the stadium. Sale tickets can be purchased from noon Thursday through 1 p.m. Friday at MUTigers.com/buytickets or by calling 800-228-7297.
Mizzou spokeman Chad Moller said Wednesday that the season-ticket renewal rate was 82 percent, which is down from an average of more than 90 percent. The Tigers had sold nearly 40,000 season tickets, the eighth-highest single mark in school history but a steep decline from more than 45,000 last season.
After the 2012 season, the last time Mizzou had a losing season as it by going 5-7 a year ago, the season-ticket renewal rate was 85 percent.
It’s unclear if the sluggish ticket sales — including a crowd of 51,192 for last week’s game, the smallest for a Mizzou home opener since 2006 — are related to fan unrest after last season’s player boycott.
“There’s no way to tease that one apart,” interim MU chancellor Hank Foley said Tuesday during a forum to announce diversity initiatives.
Foley cited several other possible factors for the low attendance.
“We didn’t have a particularly exciting season last year,” he said of the Tigers’ 5-7 record, which included a seven-game conference losing streak. “That has an effect. It’s impossible to know how much of it (the decline) is due to that and how much is due to changes we had to make with ticketing within the stadium that were necessary and that other schools have had to do also around the country.”
On the positive side, Missouri’s premium-seating sales have been strong, according to Moller.
West side premium seating is sold out and sales for the East side, including the Columns Club, stand at 97 percent.
“We anticipate being sold out of single-game (premium) seating that is offered for the East side for the rest of our SEC home games this season,” Moller said.
Since joining the SEC, the Tigers have averaged 69,012 for their first conference home game, including matchups with Georgia in 2012 and 2014.
Foley remains optimistic there will be a good crowd for the Mizzou-Georgia game, which kicks off at 6:30 p.m. and will air on the SEC Network.
“I think there’s tremendous excitement about (first-year Tigers coach) Barry Odom and his coaching,” Foley said. “I think we’re going to see really good attendance this week for the Georgia game.”