The expectations within the Maryland football ticket office are high because, as the logic goes, next season’s move to the Big Ten will bring scores of visiting fans into Byrd Stadium, many of them alumni watching their schools play in the Washington area for the first time. Since season tickets went on sale, the Terrapins have already sold more than 2,300 new packages, ahead of their mark around this time last year.
“We’re in a position where it’s unknown territory,” said Matt Monroe, the assistant athletics director in charge of ticket services. “We’re going into a conference where we’re playing teams we haven’t played before. We expect a demand and we’ve already seen that, but no one knows the type of demand we’ll have in the summer and leading up to the season. We can project it, but it’s unknown territory.”
For this season, overall season ticket prices for the team’s six home games have declined – when compared with the seven-game schedule last season that included a matchup with West Virginia at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium – but remain the same on a per-game basis. The biggest change, Monroe said, has been the reduction of space for visiting teams. Last season, opposing schools were given 4,300 tickets in sections 2, 302, 303 and 304. This season, they will be given 3,000 tickets in sections 2 and 302.
This might seem counter-intuitive given the anticipated influx of Big Ten fans, but Monroe said this was entirely attributed to conference demands. The ACC requires the allotment of nearly 50 percent more tickets to visiting teams. “That’s why it’s cut down from what you’ve seen in the past,” Monroe said.
That said, Maryland still expects fuller stadiums. Last season, the Terps averaged 38,878 fans for their six home games at Byrd Stadium, which ranked right around the middle of Football Bowl Subdivision teams and is about 13,000 below capacity. Rather than jack up the prices to bring more money to a financially struggling athletics department, Monroe said, Maryland wanted to keep them relatively stagnant to maintain accessibility for Terps fans.
“At the end of the day, we want Maryland fans coming to our games, we want to see the Maryland red out there,” he said. “There’s a balance there.”
The only other significant change to the tickets came in the upper corners of sections 311 and 312, where prices were reduced to $99 as an all-in family option. Monroe said those sold out “immediately after we put them up.” Other than that, prices only fluctuated by, at most, several dollars per game.
“Our structure didn’t really change much,” Monroe said. “Some of the prices remained flat or were up slightly. All of our donation levels remained the same. We tried to look at a number of different factors when we looked at pricing or scaling our stadium.”