UNIVERSITY PARK — When Greg Myford was looking at the football schedule before the season, this weekend’s game jumped out at him.
The associate athletic director for business and communication said he can predict which games will get the most attention before the season, and Saturday’s game at Beaver Stadium against undefeated Ohio State was the biggest.
Myford and Penn State Football’s Twitter account reported Thursday that the university already has sold out all its tickets leading up the the Big Ten clash, but tickets were available Thursday night on Ticketmaster through gopsusports.com.
“When you get the schedule, you can kind of look down and fairly predict what the high demand games are,” Myford said. “And this is certainly one of those.”
The 106,572 capacity stadium has yet to eclipse the 100,000 fan mark averaging only 96,607 fans per game through the first four home contests.
Penn State is riding a five-game winning streak, which Myford said helps to account for the heightened interest. He said the team’s success is a “major indicator” of ticket sales.
However, Myford said the athletics department is more focused on factors that they can control such as promotion and finding people who want to fill the seats.
Myford cited the Seat Transfer and Equity Program, which required some season ticket holders to make larger donations to the Nittany Lion Club to maintain their seats, as a reason for the dropoff in attendance.
He said now two years into the program, 90 percent of the people retained their seats, but the challenge comes in finding others to fill the remainder of the stadium.
This season also marks the first year following the crippling NCAA sanctions following the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal and Louis Freeh report, which provided information alleging that university officials could have done more to stop the child predator.
The sanctions include a four-year bowl ban, a reduction in scholarships, vacating wins and a $60 million fine.
Additionally, the football team must compete with the increasing number of entertainment possibilities in today’s world — not just sports.
“We’re not competing with another university that’s playing football,” Myford said. “In all likelihood, were competing with how people want to spend their Saturdays.”
But this weekend Myford is just excited to wear white for the “white house” game in Beaver Stadium.
“It should be a tremendous atmosphere,” he said.
Matt Morgan can be reached at 235-3928. Follow him on Twitter @MetroMattMorgan.