Bret Bielema on improving ticket sales at Illinois: 'The best thing I can do is win'
Generating excitement, promoting the product and resurrecting fan interest in Illinois football is all part of the job for new head coach Bret Bielema. But he’s not a guy who thinks simply giving “rah-rah” speeches is going to get the job done.
Bielema knows winning is the best way to get people back into Memorial Stadium.
This week, Illinois announced its plans to allow 100% capacity for home football games in Champaign — a growing trend in the B1G and across the country. It was exciting news, especially as the Fighting Illini prepare to host Nebraska on Saturday, Aug. 28, which marks Week 0 in college football.
“To have the chance for the opening kickoff in Champaign, no one else in college football has that opportunity,” Bielema said of the announcement, per Jeremy Werner of Illini Inquirer. “Couldn’t be more excited.”
Illinois hiring Bielema and his efforts to create a competitive program quickly in Champaign seems to be stirring up excitement about Illini football. Still, after a rough five-year stretch under Lovie Smith, there’s some hesitation at the ticket office.
Beliema believes the best way he can bring people back to Memorial Stadium and improve ticket sales is by producing a quality product on the field.
” I think the best thing I can do for season-ticket sales is win,” he said.
The Fighting Illini played in just one bowl game under Smith, that coming at the end of the 2019 season. Last year, they finished with a 2-6 record, forcing athletic director Josh Whitman to make a change at head coach.
Right off the bat, Bielema will have an opportunity to showcase what he can do with that Week 0 game against Nebraska. With it being one of the only major games of the weekend and fans welcomed back after a year with extremely limited attendance in the B1G, all eyes will be on Champaign on Aug. 28.