College Soccer Fans Scarfing Up Ticket Promotions

Paul Steinbach Headshot

The hottest thing in college soccer ticketing? Scarves.

On Aug. 10, the University of Oregon, which had never offered soccer season tickets before, began tying admission to all 10 of the Ducks' home matches this season to a green-and-yellow muffler. The athletic department's ticket office reports that on the first day it had sold 20 of its inventory of 500 season-ticket scarves, which cost $30 apiece and are not available in stores. Fans don the garment on game day and simply stroll through the gate, starting with the Ducks' season opener Aug. 20.


Other schools have warmed to the scarf trend, as well - to varying degrees. The University of Akron is for the second straight season awarding complimentary Akron Soccer scarves to season-ticket buyers, and a similar promotion is being repeated at the University of California Santa Barbara. The first 300 University of Oklahoma fans to arrive at the Sooners' Aug. 29 season opener will receive a one-of-a-kind Oklahoma Soccer scarf, sponsored by a local Volkswagen dealership.

At least one other school has made the scarf itself a season ticket. The University of Utah is selling season-ticket scarves to the general public for $20, and to students for $10. They are also the focal point of a social media "Show Your Scarf" campaign, in which fans are encouraged to upload images of themselves and their scarves to the Utah soccer Facebook page. Amanda Vandervort, a former team captain on the University of Wyoming women's team, was so impressed by this campaign that she purchased a rival Utah scarf. So have people from Las Vegas to California. As former director of online marketing, website and camps for the Chicago Red Stars of Women's Professional Soccer, Vandervort even posted a blog about Show Your Scarf. The Utes soccer team, she wrote, "has truly embraced social media marketing, and as a result, I've embraced them."

Scarves have become a part of the international soccer fabric, particularly in Europe, where chilly weather makes them practical game-day attire. They also serve as handy team signage for fans to hold overhead.

"These scarves are really big in the soccer world, and with the World Cup this year, people have seen them," says Megan Robertson, director of promotions and game-day experience for Oregon athletics. "We've gotten a lot of phone calls and inquiries. It looks like it's going to be pretty popular."

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