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Canes Marketing Encourages Fans To "Go To Fewer Games"

Al Diaz
Miami Herald Staff

The University of Miami Hurricanes have had trouble filling Sun Life Stadium in the past. It is far away from campus, and attendance often does not fill even the lower bowl. So the marketing team at the athletics department tried something a little unconventional: They created an ad calling on fans to "GO TO FEWER GAMES."

In the ad are details for a new two-game mini-plan. Instead of having to pay for full season tickets, fans could purchase tickets to two big games: Florida State University and the University of North Carolina. The plan costs $108, and includes two tickets and a University of Miami hat. 

So far, season-ticket sales are at an all-time high so early in the game, at over 4,000. Also, about 90 percent of the lower bowl tickets have been sold. 

Associate athletics director for marketing, Andrew Goodrich, explains that the idea behind the plan is a time-honored sports marketing tactic, used by the basketball team Portland Trail Blazers and the baseball team Dayton Dragons. Both teams are known for impressive sell-out streaks.

Credit Streeter Lecka / Getty Images
Getty Images
The University of Miami Hurricanes played the University of North Carolina Tarheels on October 17, 2013 at UNC's Kenan Stadium.

The basic idea is this: If fans do not have the time, money, or interest in all of the team's home games, the package focuses on the big ones. The marketing teams work hard to pack those games, and make them exciting. If everything goes to according to plan, next year the fans will want that experience again -- except instead of buying a couple games, they will buy all of them.

On social media, the ad has been met with criticism -- even mocking. Fans are upset. 

Kevin Bell is a senior at the University of Miami. Win or lose, he cheers on the Canes from the student section. He read the ad in the Miami Herald. He said he likes the mini-plan as a tactic to bring in more fans, he just did not like the advertisement, which he called "without question the dumbest idea of all time."

"You could've just sold a plan based on its merits," he says, "instead of this hook line that is going to make us a laughing stock of other teams" because the team has not yet filled even the lower bowl of Sun Life Stadium. 

The university will not sell single game tickets for the Florida State game.