Camaraderie carries staff through football-season-ticket blitz
Thats when the staff of two full-time and two part-time employees start taking requests and begin to process next years football season tickets that will go on sale in February.
Waiting to get their hands on these tickets are thousands of longtime friends and fans for whom loyalty to the Fightin Blue Hens has become a family tradition.
We have an office set up specifically for season ticket holders, many of whom have been with us for decades, Curtis Krouse, director of sports marketing, who oversees the operation season ticket office, said. People enjoy the service we provide and the relationships that they have established with our staff over the years.
Krouse is responsible for developing the marketing plan to drive season, individual and group sales.
Last fall, more than 180,000 fans came to see the action at Delaware Stadium as the Blue Hens went 10-0 at home on their way to winning the NCAA I-AA championship last December in Chattanooga, Tenn.
The office also processes requests for season tickets for Fightin Blue Hens mens and womens basketball games, which are played in the Bob Carpenter Center.
While the pace of season ticket sales in the office located just off the lobby in Delaware Field House can be hectic after a normal football season, staffers said that requests for season passes for the 2004 season were almost nonstop.
Jonathan Mitchell, manager of athletics season tickets and group sales, said that keeping up with the demand for postseason tickets grew with each exciting playoff win by the Blue Hens last fall.
Things got to be kind of overwhelming at times, Mitchell said. It really helped a lot that our staff has a great sense of humor and camaraderie.
Despite the challenge of dealing with deadline pressures during an unforgettable season, Mitchell said that overall the experience was a positive one for him and his staff.
Mitchell, who comes from a career in sports management that includes stints for arena football teams such as the Macon (Ga.) Knights, the Raleigh (N.C.) Cobras and the Cape Fear Wildcats, handles everything from requests and orders from season ticket holders and group sponsors to preparing audits for UD and the NCAA. He also helped in designing the new look of tickets for the 2004 football season.
Barbara Fleming, a supervisor in intercollegiate athletics and a 22-year veteran in the season ticket office, said that although keeping up with the ever-increasing demand for season tickets has its stressful moments, it also has its share of rewards.
You have to love your job, Fleming said. I like people, and I also like the patrons we have at UD. We are fortunate to have themthey are what keeps us here.
Teenie Hackney, a part-time worker in the season ticket office for the last 20 years, said that she and her coworkers especially enjoy talking to and meeting the children of former football players who have now become season ticket holders themselves.
I like seeing the kids of people who played for UD and are UD graduates, Hackney said. It shows you what a family-oriented place UD is.
I like the fast pace and the people I work with, Cox said. We are always busy, but we have fun.
Mitchell, who describes himself as a people person, said his favorite thing about working in the season ticket office is the chance to be a part of a rich athletic heritage while helping other people.
UD fans can hold their own with the fans of any other great university, Mitchell said. Since I came here last fall, it has astonished me to be a part of this, and to see what was happening was very rewarding. It is great to know that our office played a role in the Blue Hens national championship season.
Article by Jerry Rhodes
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