It goes without saying but Pitt hasn't had a great history of having its fans travel to bowl games. The Panthers' lack of success in recent years has likely played a part in things with the team often participating in undesirable contests. But fresh off an 8-4 regular season, there appears to be some interest in the team's postseason destination.
The immediate reaction online after Sunday's selection was overwhelmingly negative. But Pitt is still selling tickets at a pretty amazing clip so far. Ticket sales aren't always disclosed, but head coach Pat Narduzzi was more than happy to leak some of that information.
That's really great to hear, obviously. We've been through all this over the past couple of days, but part of the the thing that almost assuredly has hurt Pitt in the past has been the poor ticket sales. That makes for a difficult sell to prospective bowls who have really only one goal - to make money while showcasing the best game they can
While official ticket sales often are not disclosed, Pitt's reported 3,000+ tickets already sold is a very big number considering the relatively small magnitude of the game. To help put it into perspective, Pitt was reported to have distributed (likely not all sold) only 2,500 tickets in the 2011 Compass Bowl. The reported number for 2012 was again 2,500 distributed (again, not all believed to be sales). Both of those figures were dead last in the Big East. And while I didn't see a final on the 2013 sales, Pitt reportedly didn't come close to selling out their allotment, with Ole Miss actually picking up some of their tickets.
To sell more tickets than each of those three years in one day to what isn't billed as a big-time bowl is pretty mind-boggling. Safe to say, interest is markedly up for this season already if those are all straight sales.There's work yet to do, but congrats to the athletics department for looks to be a really successful campaign so far.