Will departures of Kelly and Davis affect season ticket sales? - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Will departures of Kelly and Davis affect season ticket sales?

by Jason Epner

IOWA CITY (KWWL) - Losing leading scorer Jake Kelly and Kirkwood Community College transfer Jermain Davis will hurt for the Iowa men's basketball team.

With season ticket sales declining, does the departure of the two Hawkeyes assure the trend continues?

We've got to get something together. We've got to start winning some games if we want our best player to stay," said Joe Honings, a freshman at Iowa.

Sure winning is important to fans.  But is it the only thing?

"I live and die every loss and win.  It's very intense for me," said Michael Joyner, UI freshman.

Passionate fans like Joyner say they'll support the Hawks through thick and thin.

But the recent reports of the departures of Kelly and Davis have even the most loyal fans wondering about the future success of the program.

"For the next couple years we're going to struggle to get some wins," said Joyner.

Season ticket sales in the 2008-2009 season for men's basketball were the lowest total over the last five years.  And that number is some 12-hundred tickets less than two seasons before.

"Does team performance, wins and losses drive ticket sales, and of course it does," said Rick Klatt.  Associate Athletic Director of External Affairs at Iowa.

But it's only part of the story.  Klatt says the tough economy has hurt college basketball programs across the country.

A recent article by the Associated Press sites attendance at this year's Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis falling by 15 percent from the year before.

Klatt says last year's flood has undoubtedly hurt ticket sales as well.

But no matter how tough the times, some will fill the seats no matter what.

"I know I'm going to buy season tickets again just because I love the environment of basketball," said Joyner.

Even though season ticket sales have declined, Klatt says average attendance at Carver-Hawkeye arena during the '08-'09 season has actually increased.

And looking forward, Klatt is optimistic.

"We're 80 percent through the plan for next year and we like what we have on paper now for our season ticket holders."

Whether that translates into a season ticket increase, remains to be seen.  And surely, continued success on the court won't hurt ticket sales either.

Online Reporter:  Jason Epner


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