MADISON, Wis. — When Brian Moore began working in ticket sales at the University of Wisconsin 13 years ago, obtaining a student season ticket package wasn’t particularly difficult.
“We put student tickets on sale in the early summer and spring and it would take all summer to sell out,” said Moore, UW’s assistant athletic director for ticket operations. “We’d sell out around the first of August. It kind of progressed from there.”
Moore noted that the delay in selling out came before Wisconsin moved its season ticket sales to the Internet. Now, a UW student had better have fast fingers, a credit card number and a good wireless connection.
According to Moore, 2012 football season ticket packages went on sale online for UW full-time undergraduates at 7:30 a.m. CT on Monday, June 18. By 8:11 a.m. — a span of 41 minutes — all 11,800 tickets were sold out.
“It went from two-and-a-half months,” Moore said, “then a month, then it went to two weeks, two days and now the last three or four years we’ve sold out in a matter of minutes.”
The level of interest from undergraduate students at Wisconsin speaks to both the program’s success and Camp Randall Stadium becoming a destination spot for students on Saturday afternoons in the fall.
The Badgers have won double-digit games three seasons in a row for the first time in program history. They are 32-8 in that span under coach Bret Bielema with two Big Ten titles and two Rose Bowl appearances.
“We’re coming off back-to-back Big Ten championships,” Moore said. “The team has been competitive for quite a few years in a row. There’s a lot of contributing factors. A lot of it is just the game day atmosphere down here at Camp Randall. It’s just a great game day atmosphere and people want to be a part of that atmosphere.”
The cost of the undergraduate season ticket package was $168, which includes seven home games: Northern Iowa (Sept. 1), Utah State (Sept. 15), UTEP (Sept. 22), Illinois (Oct. 6), Minnesota (Oct. 20), Michigan State (Oct. 27) and Ohio State (Nov. 17).
This is not the first time the tickets have disappeared quickly. Moore said that in the past few years with sales online, tickets had sold out in anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes. Overall, student season football tickets have sold out in each of the past 19 years.
“We’re fortunate that our students do have a huge interest in our football program,” Moore said. “This is what we plan for. This is what we do and we have a great marketing staff that gets the word out to students that tickets are on sale.”
Last season, Wisconsin averaged 79,813 fans — the fifth-best mark in the Big Ten behind Michigan (112,179), Ohio State (105,231), Penn State (101,427) and Nebraska (85,267).
Roughly 1,700 more tickets for Wisconsin graduate students go on sale online in July. But given the high demand, don’t expect them to last long.