MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Gophers football ended its season Wednesday on a high note. They exceeded all expectations with an 11-win season while becoming Outback Bowl champs, and the success is already showing signs of paying off for next year.
“To see our fans celebrate and to see our team celebrate, that’s what it’s all about," said Assistant Athletic Director Mike Wierzbicki.
The victorious Minnesota football team had barely made it off the field on New Year's Day when the talk turned to next season.
"We’ve already sold a thousand new season tickets for next season," said Wierzbicki. "At this point, that’s almost four times ahead of where we were last year on the same day. So the excitement is there."
It’s a sign of success: Going back to Coach Fleck’s first season in 2017, the Gophers sold 1,735 new season tickets. But after a five-win debut as coach, new season ticket sales dropped the following year.
In 2019, they doubled 2018's sales, and 2020 is off to an explosive start.
In years past, the Gophers have struggled to fill TCF Bank Stadium, which holds 50,805 fans. But they had sellouts in 2019 against Wisconsin and Penn State. They’re hoping this momentum will bring more.
And it begins with the upset win at the Outback Bowl. The season may be over but the excitement is not.
"The idea of selling a season ticket and committing to seven games a year, that demographic has changed a lot in the past five to ten years," said Wierzbicki. "So, for us to see great growth in season tickets is a huge sign of the success of the program and where Coach Fleck is taking things."
Wierzbicki says the athletic department is already working on getting existing ticket holders to renew their seats. That process goes through April.