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Post Football not an easy sell in South Carolina

Thursday July 9, 2009

The Palmetto State is home to some of the nation’s more rabid football fans. Clemson is the ACC’s closest analogue to an SEC school, and South Carolina fans are known for being loyal even through lean years. But with an unemployment rate over 12%, South Carolina has been impacted by the recession more than all but a couple of states. Naturally the economy has taken its toll on demand for the luxury of watching and supporting college football.

Clemson’s season ticket sales are down 12%, and the school expects lower revenue not just from ticket sales but also corporate sponsorships and individual contributions. “As a result, Clemson projects it could fall between $1 million and $2 million short of projected revenue for next year’s budget.” It’s somewhat of a cruel twist of fate that Clemson’s success in growing its fan base is causing it pain now. “Clemson figures to be among the hardest hit in the ACC because it is believed to possess among the largest pools of season-ticket holders.”

At South Carolina, the bad economy comes hand-in-hand with the poorly-timed introduction of a seat licensing plan (similar to Georgia’s Hartman Fund). Though the program has raised over $6 million for the program, the fallout over the plan is speculated to be behind the resignation of Bryan Risner, a “central figure” in the licensing plan. The plan has caused attrition in the Gamecock Club and has had an impact on ticket sales.

Demand seems to be holding up not only for Georgia but also Georgia Tech, but it’s certainly not a time for any program to rest on its laurels.

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