The University of Illinois athletic department has instituted a giveaway and two so-called flash sales to spur ticket purchases amid the Illini's football success this season.
As reported by CBS affiliate WCIA in Champaign, the three major efforts have taken place to help fill Memorial Stadium for home games since Illinois traveled to Wisconsin and convincingly defeated the favored Badgers on Oct. 1.
The final numbers are in from the latest effort, which targets a Nov. 5 game against Michigan State.
Brett Moore, assistant director of athletics for athletics communication, said that during the 18-hour "Buy Week" sale (so named because the Illini are idle this week), 13,450 tickets were purchased at the discounted price of $18. Moore said that some areas of the stadium sold out at the start of the sale while single tickets were all that were left in other areas.
Previous efforts, including a student ticket giveaway and another flash sale, led to elevated crowd levels for both the Iowa game Oct. 8 and the Minnesota game Oct. 15, WCIA reported.
The Iowa game drew 44,910 to the 60,680-seat stadium. The Minnesota game drew 45,683, the largest attendance for a Homecoming game in Champaign since 2013.
Illinois defeated Iowa 9-6 and Minnesota 26-14 — the latter win securing bowl eligibility for the Illini. The athletic department is hoping for a similar crowd and result for the Michigan State game.
“Our only priority at this point is to fill Memorial Stadium for this team,” said Cassie Arner, senior associate director of athletics, external, as reported by WCIA. “We are in a position to have a special season and flash sales have given us the ability to move large numbers of tickets to significantly impact the atmosphere in the stadium."