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It's All in the Family

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August 23, 2013
By Kelly McHugh
 
There's just something about Bill Snyder Family Stadium that draws people to games.
 
While colleges around the nation are experiencing a decline in ticket sales for various reasons, K-State has not taken a hit. In fact, the Wildcats are looking forward to what could be a record-breaking year when it comes to stadium attendance.
 
This season, K-State has an all-time-high of more than 43,000 season ticket holders from 46 different states, student-tickets (at 8,600) are at their highest sales since 2006 and for the Wildcats' first game, on August 30 against North Dakota State, K-State is expecting a Bill Snyder Family Stadium opening-game record crowd.
 
"We don't know where we'll land, but we set the record opening-game attendance against UCLA in 2010, and right now we project that we'll exceed that game," Scott Garrett, Associate Athletics Director for Ticketing and Fan Strategies said about this year's opener. "It was just over 51,000 and we should be in that ballpark or just beyond that."
 
With the opening of the new West Stadium Center, Wildcat fans will notice the gameday experience at K-State will be a different than previous years.
 
Fans will be treated with more than double the amount of concession stands and restrooms as in previous seasons, there will be more space on the west concourse, including the Hall of Honor where fans will be able to engage in the history of all 16 of K-State's athletic programs, while a new expansion and reconfiguration of the south concourse will also provide more freedom for fans.

K-State Athletics is also introducing a service recognition program where every fan will be able to give a voucher to a stadium worker who they believe showed excellent service. At the end of the year, those workers will be able to turn in their vouchers for prizes, certificates and recognition. 
 
Fans can also look forward to a new pregame experience that will include Cat Town holding pregame radio shows, public tents where fans can watch other college football games before kickoff and extra concessions stands. In the Bramlage Coliseum concourse, kids will be able to enjoy Willie's Fun Zone beginning three hours before kickoff.
 
"All those things are important to enhancing the gameday experience," Garrett said. "We want it to be special. We want someone to walk away - regardless of whether the team won or lost - and feel that the investment that they made in the ticket that they got back what they put in and that it was a special experience."
 
Over 50 percent of K-State fans travel over 100 miles each way to come to K-State football games, so Athletics Director John Currie's goal of 'The Best Fan Experience in the Big 12' is important to not just him, but to the athletics department as a whole.
 
"We've been very fortunate that we are not the national trend because our attendance has continued to improve over the last several years," Currie said. "Unless we just have some difficulties with weather, we should have the most people ever to come to Bill Snyder Family Stadium in our history. We should be on target for 400,000 for the year, which would set our all-time attendance record, but we can't ever take that for granted."
 
Currie said having "incredibly loyal fans" in the K-State family has helped in turning his goal into a reality.
 
But overall, the thing that both Currie and Garrett say makes K-State different is the family atmosphere every week at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. It is more than just a motto or a word - it is a feeling that K-Staters everywhere experience whether it is their first or 100th game in the Little Apple.
 
"Fans indicate what they like about K-State, and I think you can see it every time you come to a game, is the family atmosphere," Garrett said. "That's the No. 1 driver outside of how the team is doing. Coach Snyder has said every member; every person at each and every one of these games is a part of that K-State family. So that's the biggest driver for us and what's different about K-State. It's cliché to say in some places, but here, we really mean it. When you walk around, everyone is a part of the K-State family."


Want to read more about the 2013 K-State Fan Experience? Check out Fan Experience Initiates Implemented for 2013 Season.


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We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact Kelly McHugh, Mark Janssen or K-State Assistant AD for Communications Kenny Lannou.