Adam Tschuor called it “the mad rush to the finish line” and described this month as “crazy times” for anyone in the Dayton Flyers athletic department preparing for the new basketball season. Those are both good things if you’re Tschuor, a senior associate athletic director.
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“It’s great,” he said. “Can’t wait for it to get here.”
Tschuor’s excitement mirrors the fan base’s feeling about the 2019-20 season. The combination of a promising team, along with the completion of the three-year UD Arena renovation project, has led to unprecedented demand for season tickets, which will start to hit mail boxes Oct. 21-23.
That’s saying something for a program that ranked 22nd in the nation in attendance (12,957 fans per game) last season — the 22nd straight season it has ranked in the top 30 — and set a single-season UD Arena record with eight sellouts.
“They’re numbers I’ve never heard of here,” Tschuor said. “Our numbers have always been really good. We have over 98 percent renewal in the 200 level down in the lower arena. That doesn’t change. That’s the same kind of number (every year).”
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This year, Tschuor said, 95 percent of season tickets in the entire building have been renewed. Even in the 300 and 400 levels, the upper sections of the 50-year-old arena, more than 90 percent of fans have renewed their season tickets. That surprised Tschuor, who has a big role in ticket sales throughout his seven years at UD and who from 2008-12 served as the director of ticket sales at Ball State.
“Historically, the 400 level would be 80 percent,” he said. “The 300 level would be 85 percent.”
Tschuor said UD started examining the numbers earlier than usual because it realized it would have to cut off season-ticket sales for the 400 level. Anyone trying to put a deposit down on those tickets right now would be told no. That’s a rarity in the upper level.
That doesn’t mean every ticket has been sold. There have been 11,457 season tickets sold, and deposits have been put down on 335 more. UD holds 1,100 tickets per game for students and more for visiting teams and its own internal demands.
“We’re never going to sell every single seat as a season ticket,” Tschuor said. “At least what we’re comfortable selling, we hit that threshold.”
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Dayton is still selling premium tickets in the club sections. It has worked to alert fans that these kind of tickets are still available.
“If someone came to me right now and said we want two club seats, they could buy them,” Tschuor said, “but if they wanted two 400 level seats, it would be a no.”
Three of the four terrace suites, the sections built last year in the second phase of the arena renovation, have been sold out. Only one of those sections was open last season. UD is holding on to tickets for one of the sections for now because there has been such demand for those seats.
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Fans will get their first look at Dayton men’s basketball team at 5 p.m. Nov. 2 during an exhibition game against Cedarville. The regular-season begins a week later at 7 p.m. Nov. 9 against Indiana State.
“We’ve always had one of the most consistent and loyal fan bases in the country,” Tschuor said. “Our numbers are not surprising to us, but they are surprising to others outside the Miami Valley, and certainly outside our league, those are big numbers. We surely do not take that for granted. We know we have to deliver every year, every game a terrific fan experience from parking to concessions to halftime entertainment. We give it our all every game. We’re also very committed and engaged with our fan base, so we take their feedback and listen to it and do all we can.”
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