ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The football team is struggling to draw fans and the University of New Mexico’s Athletics Department is already in the red; now the Lobo basketball team is seeing another sharp drop in season tickets sales.
KRQE News 13 has learned sales are down by more than 10 percent, again.
Lobo fans KRQE News 13 spoke with seemed optimistic about this upcoming season, but as ticket sales show, there might be a little ‘wait-and-see’ attitude.
Lobo basketball is the king of the New Mexico sports scene.
“Grew up going to basketball games, since I was a little kid,” said Indigo Brown, Lobo basketball fan.
But Lobo fans are as honest as they are loyal.
“The team went a little downhill,” said Brown.
Along with the rough patch on the court the past couple of years, there’s been a drop in season ticket sales.
“Sales are down around the country in a lot of different locations as well,” said Drew Ingraham, UNM Athletics Dept.
Season tickets sales have dropped by more than 10 percent each of the past two years, dipping below 9,000 with the first home game coming up on Wednesday.
UNM’s Atheltics Department said it’s not too concerned with the sagging numbers.
“Our season ticket fan base is one of the strongest in the country, if not the strongest,” said Ingraham.
But the university said it is focused on getting fans excited again.
“This year we’ve hosted a series of open practices,” said Ingraham.
They said giving fans more access to the players and coaches will help build that connection.
“So when they walk in to the first home game they’re aware of these players and they’ve already built some type of relationship,” said Ingraham.
And also believe in the power of “The Pit.”
“It’s a cathedral of some points, it’s a rallying point,” said Ingraham.
Lobo fans said they are also optimistic about the upcoming season, and said hoping for the unexpected is the beauty of being a college basketball fan.
“If they get a conference bid, anything can happen,” said Steven Chavez, a Lobo basketball fan.
The athletics department said season ticket sales are so important because basketball money helps fund other teams at the school. UNM says they hope the beer and wine sales in The Pit will also help bring in more money.
The season tips off Wednesday night at The Pit with an exhibition game against Western New Mexico.