Darrell Hazell and Morgan Burke know how important bringing fans back to Ross-Ade Stadium is.
And they've showed it, pushing Hazell hard in the community and on campus since his arrival to Purdue to sell the program. Hazell has been in front of students of nearly every age with his recent appearance to an elementary school as well as hitting multiple spots on campus to connect with the immediate fan base. He's been to businesses in the community and several booster-club events to generate attention and passion.
So far, the aggressive approach seems to be working. Public season ticket sales and new season ticket sales already are up from the total from last season, and student season tickets are already ahead of the pace from last year at this time, according to Purdue's associate athletic director for communications Tom Schott.
As of Friday, Purdue had sold 23,100 season tickets to the public, up from 20,880 from all of 2012. So far in 2013, Purdue has sold 5,406 new season tickets, compared to 1,641 in 2012.
Student interest is up early, too, with 1,251 season tickets sold through Friday. That's about 232 more than at this point last season when, ultimately, students had 6,792 total season tickets, including 4,805 VIP Cards.
Burke and Nancy Cross planned much of Hazell's early introduction schedule, rolling him out to certain audiences in what Burke said was the "right sequence."
"I think that worked," Burke said during an interview last month.
During one event in late-April in Indianapolis that had about 400 businessmen and alumni in attendance, Burke said attendees bought about 750 tickets for the Indiana State game, Hazell's first home game.
"That wasn't insignificant," Burke said. "It was probably one of the more exciting events like that I've been to in a long time. … There was a sense of optimism in the room."
With Hazell joining Matt Painter, Sharon Versyp and Dave Shondell on the Coaches' Caravan tour this spring and summer - it starts May 23 and runs through the end of the July - there still is more momentum to be built.
"(Hazell) knows and I know that you always get a honeymoon when you're a brand-new hire," Burke said during an interview last month. "We're not going to get caught up in people telling us how great things are right now. Although we certainly can feel the love, which we haven't felt for awhile, which is a good thing."
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