Terps fever rising

so are ticket sales

BCS site unknown, but 2,500 requests in

November 22, 2001|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

Four days after Maryland's football team clinched a Bowl Championship Series berth, the school's athletic department has gotten a brisk response from fans interested in seats at the team's postseason game.

Since order forms went out Friday, the Terps have received requests for 2,500 tickets, ticket manager Wendy Brown said. Though the Jan. 2 Orange Bowl in Miami is seen as the likely destination, the eighth-ranked team won't know where it's going until Dec. 9, when the BCS announces its teams and pairings.

For that reason, Maryland associate athletic director Joe Hull said he wouldn't anticipate the full number of orders coming in until those pairings have been made, and the school has set a deadline of Dec. 12 for those who get first priority for tickets.

The order forms provide buyers the opportunity to pre-order now for any or all of six bowls - the Rose, Orange, Sugar, Fiesta, Gator or Peach - while being charged only for tickets to the bowl Maryland is awarded.

But the school is willing to accommodate cautious fans. "We don't feel it's fair to ask people to commit to a bowl game before they know what bowl they're going to," said Hull, who worked on eight postseason ticket campaigns in 12 years at North Carolina State before coming to Maryland in 1998.

A school's ability to sell its allotment of tickets is one of the criteria for bowl committees. The Orange Bowl (where the Terps would likely play if the regular season ended now) gives each school 15,000 tickets, with the option of picking up several thousand extra.

That bowl's committee chair, Keith Tribble, said schools have normally averaged about 18,000 for his game at Pro Player Stadium, with the high being Florida's 24,000 tickets purchased for its 1999 contest against Syracuse.

Tribble said he expects Maryland would have no problem surpassing the initial number of allotted seats. "We know that with a team like Maryland, we expect their fans to come out," he said, adding that the other teams in the BCS pool have a tradition of traveling well. "That's not an issue with us."

Hull said he also expects Maryland to sell more than the initial number of allotted seats. In addition, the school will ask for the maximum number of tickets from the Orange or Sugar bowls.

Twenty percent of the tickets will be reserved for the school's students. The rest will be sold in order of priority until Dec. 12, with Terrapin Club members coming first, followed by season-ticket holders then alumni, faculty and staff who don't hold season tickets.

Any remaining tickets would be available to the public beginning on Dec. 13. Hull said that to get first priority for tickets, 170 people had signed up for the Terrapin Club, "so people are ready to roll."

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