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New stadiums spark USF season-ticket sales



TAMPA -- The opening weekend for USF's new baseball and softball stadiums, which drew a record 7,577 fans for three baseball games, is already making an impact on season-ticket sales, which are substantially up in both sports.


Baseball, which had 410 season tickets sold last season, is already at 614, and USF administrators are optimistic about reaching 1,000 as the buzz surrounding the new park continues, with a season ticket costing $50 and 25 home games remaining on the schedule. Softball's total jumped from 15 last season to 80, with hopes of reaching 200 season tickets.

"I think people had such a fantastic time that they will definitely return," said Bill McGillis, USF's executive associate athletic director. "We've received a number of e-mails from fans talking about how much fun they had over the weekend."

In 43 seasons at Red McEwen Field, USF's attendance record for a single game was 2,517, set last season against Florida. USF averaged better than that over the first three games (which were free to fans), including 3,125 on Friday's opening night.

Even the baseball stadium's best seats -- 68 field-level views that cost $500 each for a full season -- are close to selling out.

Athletic director Doug Woolard has long had a slideshow of artist's renderings of USF's facility upgrades -- baseball, softball and soccer stadiums, with new practice facilities for football and basketball. On Tuesday morning at a GrayRobinson Community Leader Forum in Lakeland, he was proud to replace some slides with actual photos from the opening weekend of baseball and softball.

"It has exceeded my best hopes," Woolard told his audience of the new stadiums and their warm reception from Bulls fans.

[Last modified: Tuesday, March 1, 2011 1:50pm]


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