At first I was going to do a standard post about the season-ticket sales news. But the main reasons are pretty obvious, and the whole post was turning into OH HERE LET ME EXPLAIN THIS BECAUSE YOU'RE TOO DUMB TO FIGURE IT OUT, so I gave up.
There were two strange thoughts worth salvaging, though. I love thinking things through too much, and that means I have fun coming up with strange reasons why certain things happen. These might be totally ridiculous theories as to why season tickets are down, but maybe they're worth talking about. And if not, they get you 5 minutes closer to the season starting, so you might as well read them.
CRACKPOT THEORY #1: There are still too many tickets available.
My thinking here is that if USF had a stadium full of season-ticket holders, fewer people would give theirs up, because they'd be afraid of not getting them back later. Someone else would probably be willing to buy the tickets they gave up, and then they would have to go on a waiting list or start donating more money to try and get back in. If fans were short on money but they thought they might be permanently screwing themselves out of USF tickets, maybe they find something else to cut back on.
With something like 30,000 tickets still theoretically available for season purchase, that scenario is obviously a long way off for our program. But it would help explain why a program like Florida, in a much smaller town and facing the same economic constraints as everyone else in Florida, still has no trouble selling tickets. Obviously their demand is higher overall, but they have a ton of well-heeled alumni (plus a ton of jorts-wearing hangers-on) who will pay whatever UF demands in order to keep their season tickets. The Gators require much larger donations to their athletic department than the Bulls do, and their rates are per seat, unlike USF, which only requires one donation per account across all sports. But I assume Gators fans pay it because they know if they're dumb enough to give up their tickets, it's going to take a near-miracle to get them back.
CRACKPOT THEORY #2: Certain seats in Raymond James Stadium are less desirable now for season tickets than they will be in the future.
Even though I don't live in Tampa anymore and don't plan to move back there, I would like to buy season tickets in the upper deck someday. I like watching the game unfold from that angle, and by having the tickets I could go to games once or twice a year, give some other tickets to my dad and brothers, and use the rest for giveaways on this site, or just donate them.
So far USF has only opened up a couple of sections in the upper deck for season tickets. I could probably get those seats now, and I wouldn't have to make an annual donation (even though I do already). But I'm waiting on two things. First, I want the sections on the USF side of the field to open up. And second, when those sections are open for games now, they tend to be overrun with the other team's fans, or the local hangers-on who I would just as soon they not be there. I really don't enjoy being around anyone like the people who go to Bucs games to be part of the scene. They show up, they don't really watch the game, they act like belligerent jerks, they drink too much, and they give everyone a bad impression of my alma mater. Someday, when there are enough devoted USF fans to fill those seats every week, that's where I would want to sit. Right now, not so much.