The No. 1 answer fans gave Boise State Athletic Director Curt Apsey for why some stayed away from home games or what needed to change was kickoff times.
Finally, for the first time since Sept. 7, 2013, the Broncos will have a daytime kickoff at Albertsons Stadium when they face Troy at 1:45 p.m. Saturday in the season opener.
But fans still aren’t buying tickets.
On Monday, Apsey said even if students use their full allotment, the school still would have 9,000-10,000 tickets to sell.
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“They’re not where we want them,” Apsey said of the ticket sales. “... That’s lower than we’ve been in the past, without a doubt.”
Apsey added that the days leading up to the first home game tend to provide strong ticket sales, but it’s still a pretty big surprise to see only 26,000 tickets or so sold. He noted this will be Labor Day weekend, which some families use as one last long weekend away.
That last afternoon home kickoff four years ago was against UT Martin, a Football Championship Subdivision school. There were 33,293 in attendance that day.
“It’s nice, it’s different, I think a lot of guys will like it,” said senior tight end Jake Roh, who was redshirting in 2013 and remembers his contribution that day was “waving a towel.”
Since that last daytime kickoff, 17 of the Broncos’ 24 home games have kicked off at 8 p.m. or later, including all six last season. The two other home dates with set kickoffs in 2017 are slated for 6 p.m. starts (though one is a Thursday and one is a Friday).
“It’ll be really nice not to finish at, like, midnight every home game. It’ll be fun,” sophomore safety Kekoa Nawahine said.
Troy is a far better challenge for the Broncos than UT Martin, as the Trojans are coming off a 10-3 season in which they became the first Sun Belt Conference team to be ranked in The Associated Press Top 25.
On Monday, USA Today ranked the top 10 college football games of this upcoming week, and Troy-Boise State came in at No. 7.
“This pits two of the best Group of Five teams. Boise State we know; the Broncos rank among the most consistent teams in the country,” Paul Myerberg wrote. “But Troy is set to make national noise out of the Sun Belt Conference, one year after its breakthrough under Neal Brown and his staff.”
Said Apsey: “The one thing people maybe aren’t taking serious enough is who we are playing.”
▪ Apsey said that season ticket sales were “about 90 percent of what we budgeted. “We’re OK there — we’re down, we’re not where we want to be,” he said. “Without a doubt, we have some gains we have to make in that area as well.” Last season, Boise State’s season-ticket sales dipped below 20,000 for the first time since 2006.
▪ Future scheduling plans are expected to be announced in the near future. The Broncos currently have open dates in 2019, 2020 and 2021, along with 2024 and beyond.
“Close. We are close,” Apsey said. “We’ve got an announcement about a few different things, so we’re just kind of waiting to tidy everything up and then we’ll get that to you guys as soon as we know.”
▪ The east side of Albertsons Stadium is next on the list of upgrades the department is hoping to address. Apsey said he hopes to get plans and financial options in place within the next few months for State Board of Education approval.
“Absolutely, it’s necessary, it has to happen in my opinion, it’s not a choice,” Apsey said. “There’s a difference between a need and a want and that’s a need for us.”
▪ A nationwide search for a baseball coach to lead the rebooted program will begin shortly, within the next week or two, with the intent to have a coach in place by the end of the year.
“We’re excited about baseball, no doubt about that,” Apsey said. “The next week or two we’re going to have an announcement on the street to start our process of looking for a head coach. ... We want to try and do that before the end of the year and that’s still the plan.”
On Monday, Apsey sent a letter to fans. Here is what it read:
Dear Bronco Fans,
As August turns to September and summer becomes fall, one thing immediately comes to mind – Bronco Football is back on The Blue. Few things are as magical as watching your team take the field with more than 36,000 of your closest friends, but it’s more than just a game – it’s an experience.
Tailgating. The marching band. The spirit squad. Walking out of Albertsons Stadium following a win – something that Boise State has done at home more than any school in the country over the last 15 years. This is all part of a Bronco game day, and something you can’t experience from your living room.
We have addressed several areas of the game day environment over the course of the last six months in order to bring you the best fan experience we can offer. From improved – and increased – replays on the video board to a new and improved team entrance; from a live DJ playing in stadium to increased concession options; from additional tailgating opportunities to more in-game fireworks.
You, the fan, are a difference maker for us. Our team feeds off your energy, and you feed off the energy of our student-athletes. Simply put, an improved fan environment creates an even better home-field advantage. But we can’t build a home-field advantage without a packed Albertsons Stadium.
If you already have your tickets, we can’t wait to see you this season. If you don’t, we need you.
Without the support of a full stadium, not only do we lose the luxury of home-field advantage, we lose the ability to fund this program at a level that produces the successes you have come to expect. Your purchase of tickets makes us better by providing resources for critical things like recruiting, player development and first-class facilities, all of which allow us to compete and succeed at the highest level.
You are part of this team, part of what has helped build Boise State Football into what it has become. Your investment is what makes us go.
Season tickets are still available, as are mini plans, single-game tickets, family plans and group tickets. There is something for everyone in every price range.
Bronco Football is back on The Blue. It’s an experience you don’t want to miss.
See you on game day!
Boise State Director of Athletics
Boise State football attendance for home openers
* indicates last time Boise State played an afternoon home game