Perennial college football powerhouse USC has won two national championships and held a top five ranking at the end of the last seven seasons.
Nevertheless, this is the first time since 2006 that the team has offered season tickets for general sale. That's because some people didn't exercise their renewal option for 2009.
"Based on the state of the economy, we did have some attrition in terms of season ticket holders," said Jose Eskenazi, USC associate athletic director.
A season ticket costs $330 the same as general sale tickets for USC's six home games this season but with seats in better sections.
The team's allotment of new season tickets sold out quickly, Eskenazi said, and general admission tickets have sold out for some games. There are still general admission tickets available for other games, including the team's season opener against San Jose State University.
In recent years, demand for season tickets was so high that some ticket holders were asked to make contributions to the athletic department or have their seats moved to less desirable locations.
Some fans may have chosen this year as a time to give up their season ticket options because many of the team's marquee matchups are road games. USC has six this season, which feature contests with Ohio State University, University of California at Berkeley and Notre Dame University. However, USC does host cross-town rival UCLA at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Nov. 28.
In order to sell some of the remaining individual game tickets, USC redesigned its Web site, incorporating social networking elements. Fans can find out about special ticket offers online via Twitter or Facebook.
For fans who won't travel cross-country to the road game against Ohio State, USC will be offering a special 3-D telecast of the match on a big screen at the Galen Center, the school's basketball arena. It will also be shown in theaters in Columbus, Ohio; Hartford, Conn.; and Hurst, Texas. The telecast will be produced by ESPN, which owns national TV rights to the game. There's no charge for tickets to the broadcast events, where 3-D glasses will be distributed, also at no charge.
When the Los Angeles Dodgers turned the right field pavilion into an all-you-can-eat section two years ago, the 3,000-seat area became an instant hit.
This year, the team has further extended that selling point with an 830-seat section of the third deck called "My Town." The section caters to ethnic and other affinity groups such as USC and UCLA fans and has become a hit among fans.
The My Town program is bringing in groups that include people who had never been to a Dodgers game. Some are drawn by giveaways, the all-you-can-eat food and discount group rates of $35 a person.
"A lot of people who sit in the section are attending a game for the first time," said Yvonne Carrasco, Dodgers spokeswoman.
The section was recently oversold when it was branded as the My Town Philippines. Some Filipino My Towners were given ID bracelets and seated nearby. The My Team section has been historically underutilized, and the success of the program shows the team has turned it into a draw.
My Town tickets include a free T-shirt reading "This Is My Town" incorporating the Dodgers logo and design themes reflecting the group of the night. For example, on Irish night, the shirt will be green; for Italian night the shirt slogan is written in Italian.
The all-you-can eat food includes traditional ballpark fare plus specialty items associated with the group. For example, Mexico night Sept. 5 will have tequila lime chicken and jicama with chili lime salt.
Both the Rose Bowl and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum are on a list of 32 venues that could host games as part of the U.S. bid for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup soccer tournaments.
The two passed the third stage of the USA Bid Committee's review process. The committee's job is to find stadiums that meet FIFA's requirements: Each nation bidding for the games must have 12 to 18 stadiums with seating capacity of at least 40,000. For opening and final games, stadiums need to have a capacity of at least 80,000 to be considered. The Coliseum and the Rose Bowl both meet that threshold, each with room to hold about 90,000.
The United States will submit its bid in May and FIFA will make its announcement in December 2010.
Staff reporter David Nusbaum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 236.
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