Le-Laf game aims for sellout after years of decreasing attendance

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Not all of Lehigh’s student population plans to attend one of the university’s largest events—the rivalry football game against Lafayette College.

Student attendance at the annual Rivalry game has decreased over the past few years. Richard Haas, the assistant athletics director for sales and marketing, said he hopes these numbers increase.

“Our goal is still a full sellout,” Haas said. “But to get there, we’re going to need more students to grab tickets.”

Though 15,270 tickets were sold for last year’s game at Lafayette, Haas said the data for every game since ticket data has been collected has shown sellouts, regardless of the venue. 

The maximum capacity of Goodman Stadium is 14,400. Haas said extra tickets are allotted to media members and people who stand remotely in a grass bank outside of the stadium. 

As of Nov. 11, Haas said around 1,500 student tickets have been sold, and the goal is to be closer to 2,750 or 3,000. Given that this year’s game is at home, Haas said more students usually attend at home, but not by much.

“We still have a ways to go to get to what the tradition has been,” Haas said.

Haas said, after talking to students, he believes many procrastinate and buy tickets at the last minute, although it is beneficial for Lehigh Athletics to have these numbers earlier to plan logistics. Buses need to be coordinated to bring students to and from the game, and enough t-shirts need to be purchased to hand out prior to the game, because every ticket comes with a shirt.

“The sooner students can buy their (tickets), the better experience we can provide them,” Haas said.

Jessica Galarza, ‘22, does not plan to attend the Le-Laf game this year because of financial reasons.

Galarza said her other friends will also not attend for the same reason. Ticket prices are $25.75 and have remained the same over the past 10 years. She said she first learned about Le-Laf when she toured Lehigh’s campus.

“Coming here and touring the school, they really advertised it,” Galarza said.

The game is primarily advertised through Lehigh Athletics emails to all undergraduate and graduate students. Haas said marketing is also done on social media through Twitter and paid advertisements on platforms like Facebook, targeted at the Lehigh community.

William Hollier, ‘23, said he and his friends have been aware of the advertising.

“Definitely (made aware) through emails and portal,” Hollier said.

Hollier said he will attend the Le-Laf game because his friends are going, and they talk about the game frequently.

Haas said the game is advertised to the general public with billboards, radio, digital advertisements and emails, reaching about 20,000 people through the department’s ticket marketing database. Starting in May, season ticket brochures that advertised the game were sent to previous season ticket holders.

Lehigh Athletics has also spoken with Gryphons and the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Council presidents to make sure students are aware of the Le-Laf game. Haas said it wants to make the importance of this tradition to the Lehigh experience known to all students, so they are motivated to come and get excited.

“It’s a great time for students to come out and enjoy the game, and wear brown and white,” Haas said.

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