Over the weekend Investors Savings Bank announced a new partnership with the Rutgers athletic department, which will include donating 25 tickets for members of the Piscataway football team to attend Thursday's home opener against Norfolk State.
The news raises the question of how strong will attendance be for that game. The opponent is lousy, although anyone itching for their Rutgers football fix after months of withdrawal won't care. It's on a Thursday, which isn't as bad as it could be because of the Labor Day weekend. It will be hard for some fans to get to the game from work though, and there are other weekday distractions. Plus, not everybody has Friday off. On Sunday athletic director Tim Pernetti announced a promotion to sell tickets for the game at a $10 discount, along with the opportunity to win his personal seats.
Considering that the Giants and Jets still have plenty of PSLs to sell, and even the likes of FSU have around 15,000 tickets unsold for its opener, this fall doesn't appear to be a very hospitable climate for the sports business. Frankly, it will be a victory to maintain last year's strong momentum.
"If you look across the board at college football, the story that keeps getting told is that everything is down," athletics director Tim Pernetti said Saturday afternoon as he navigated a golf cart through a maze of scarlet-clad fans awaiting kickoff against Florida International. "At Rutgers we had our best fundraising year in athletics ever and season-ticket football sales were up, so we’re pleased."
In stark contrast to 2009, the athletic department hasn't really been hammered on this point much lately. A school official provided an estimate to Tom Luicci that attendance for the opener is projected to be in the mid-to-high 40,000 range. There are reports however that the normal allotment for student tickets has sold out. Hopefully good weather will attract a strong walk-up crowd.