More sell outs possible for SDSU?

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Dana J. Dykhouse stadium replaced Coughlin-Alumni stadium in 2016 as the home for South Dakota State University football. The replacement increased seating capacity by 11,000 seats. So far, the stadium has reached capacity crowds three times.

The Sept. 9 crowd for the Montana State game was 19,332, which would be capacity at the 19,340-seat stadium, said Sam Holden, assistant athletics director in premium sales at SDSU. “Anything over 19,300 is considered a sellout..,” Holden said.

The Jackrabbits beat Drake on Saturday at Target Field in Minneapolis. The team plays at home Sept. 30 against North Dakota.

“Ticket sales are trending towards a sell out for the next three home contest,” Holden said.

“We are expecting good turnouts for the next few home games. We have limited tickets available right now on as well as some tickets available with secondary market through,” Holden said.

The Sept. 9 game featured third-ranked Montana State against top ranked SDSU .

The crowd reached that same 19,332 when the University of South Dakota played in Brookings on Oct. 8, 2022. As of 2022, this was only the second time the stadium had sold out, an SDSU official said then.

The Jackrabbits won a national championship in 2022.

The 2022 season was the first in which alcohol sales were permitted in the stadium in Brookings.

“As we look back at the data there were numerous factors that came into play,” Holden said of 2022. “The biggest driver to the increase in attendance was the success of the team this past season. Beer sales enhanced the game-day environment at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium.”

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In October of 2021, SDSU official Maggan Froseth said in a KELOLAND News story that crowd sizes were increasing before alcohol sales and that a winning team was a big factor, but alcohol sales likely helped attendance numbers.

The season record average game attendance was set in 2016 with 13,700 fans per game in 2016 when the stadium first opened, according to data from the Missouri Valley Conference. The record was set in seven home games including playoffs.

The crowds in 2022 didn’t beat 2016 as SDSU averaged 12,581 fans through nine home games including the playoffs. So, the team drew better in 2016 with two fewer home games.

The 2022 regular season games drew an average of 15,561 per game.

Holden said on Friday that SDSU officials expect a similar turnout as they would at home for Saturday’s game in Minneapolis. SDSU won that game 70-7. According to the Drake website, the attendance was 18,174. It’s likely most of those were SDSU fans as the most fans at Drake home game in 2022 was 2,964. Drake’s home game on Sept. 9 against NAIA opponent Northwestern of Orange City, Iowa, drew 3,526.

The next Jackrabbit home game is against North Dakota.

In 2021, the home crowd attendance for the North Dakota game was 8,135. The 2021 schedule also indicates that other teams from the Missouri Valley conference have traveled well and draw well at home.

The attendance for the home game against North Dakota State in 2021 had an attendance of 18,122.

The 2022 game at NDSU drew 18,603 fans.

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The wins and the attendance have increased since 2019 at SDSU. The team’s record was 8-5 in 2019. It improved to 11-4 in 2021.

According to the NCAA, SDSU drew an 10,971 fans at home games in 2019. Compare that with Montana State which drew an average of 17,281 fans in 2019.

Montana State said it set records in 2022 with 158,416 total fans and an average of 19,802 per game. The university said on June 6 it had sold out its season tickets for 2023.

Even records of 11-3 in 2017 and 10-3 in 2018 didn’t increase the home Jackrabbit crowd sizes by much. The home crowd was 14,614  against Montana State. A home crowd for the playoffs on Dec. 2, 2017, drew 7,518 fans.

So far, the crowds at the first two home games for SDSU are larger than in 2022.

The opening-day crowd against the NAIA’s Western Oregon at home on Aug. 31 drew 16,258.

On Sept. 10, 2022, there was a crowd of 15,182 for home game against UC Davis. The next week’s game with Butler drew 16,414 fans.

About five years after the football stadium opened, the university announced a plan to change the basketball arena and reduce seating.

In 2021, SDSU announced a plan for a new basketball facility. Frost Arena will be replaced by First Bank & Trust Arena with 1,000 fewer seats. The capacity at Frost is about 6,500. The capacity at the new arena will drop to about 5,500. The new arena will have new premium seating areas, suites and a larger concourse.

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