Soft scheduling and a lackluster 7-6 2012 campaign have made the de facto preseason storyline for Wisconsin football one of waning interest, only magnified by the new era ushered in by the hiring of Gary Andersen. But as always, it's the dollars that are the truest signs of interest. Football student season tickets sold out in less than two hours on Monday morning, going on sale at 7:30 p.m. CT. It marks the 20th consecutive season that Wisconsin has sold out student tickets.
Undergraduate tickets account for approximately 12,300 of the 14,000 seats in Camp Randall Stadium's student section. Tickets for graduate and professional degree students will go on sale in three weeks.
At $168 for seven home games (plus a head-scratching but sadly inevitable $20 processing fee), tickets weren't necessarily more expensive this year. But unofficially, tickets generally sell out a bit quicker. This
sadly recently graduated student hasn't forgotten the days of logging into UWBadgers.com's online ticketing system 30 minutes before tickets even went on sale, knowing they would be gone within the next 30. Many current students expressed frustrations on Facebook and Twitter at a seemingly slower system , though in all fairness, many positive returns were found, not surprisingly, in retweets by @UWMadison.
@B5Q Pretty sure there were technical issues. Some very slow loading. I think it was evident by selling out in 2hrs unlike 30min in the past— David Roberts (@GBDavid9) June 17, 2013
@B5Q 4th year buying. Same process, just MUCH slower. Got pretty worried, finally got them around 9:10. Got em in 1st 15min in the past.— David Roberts (@GBDavid9) June 17, 2013
@B5Q Site was awful today. Slower than usual, blaming that for late sellout. Probably that and combo of people dropping after long waits.— Kyle Ashauer (@KyleAshauer) June 17, 2013
@B5Q student buying process is incredibly frustrating. Seems random selection of who's allowed into system, this year seemed to take longer— Mike Smith (@tyke_mike) June 17, 2013
@B5Q I had to have a friend who got in on more than one device purchase them for me. It was a struggle.— Curt Hogg (@YouAStupidHogg) June 17, 2013
Fortunately, if you're a friendly enough person, that time-honored "have your friend do it" option was still possible. It saves students many heartaches should the system -- seemingly but probably not actually arbitrary in the order it lets customers through -- hold them up. Plus, the 7:30 a.m. sale time is purely unkind to poor twentysomethings that can't get their feet on the ground before 11 on a summer morning. Should you have a diehard buddy up and ready to go, just pass on your account info and you're good to go.
Moving forward, the fascinating question will be if it has any tangible difference. Crappy attendance and/or late-arrivals are a renowned tradition at Camp Randall, and unless there's some dramatic shift in pregame festivities, that seems unlikely to change. A soft 2013 home slate seems more likely to produce some adverse changes, though on the flip side, the positive vibes generated by Andersen's young tenure could cause the opposite.
What we're likely looking at is another fine but hardly outstanding year of attendance numbers. The students will show up eventually, blast their tonsils out and then leave after Jump Around when Wisconsin's up 70 points on Tennessee Tech. You can always count on that -- whether a fourth straight trip to Pasadena is in the works is another matter entirely.