Thursday, December 20, 2007

Duke, Cutcliffe pushing season tickets

If you go to Duke’s official athletics website (, the first image you see is that of new football coach David Cutcliffe urging the purchase of season tickets.

That’s just one part of an exhaustive marketing campaign aimed to generate interest in a team that’s gone 13-90 over the last nine seasons under Carl Franks and then Ted Roof.

Duke is giving mini-footballs with Cutcliffe’s signature to any fan who buys season tickets. On the day of Cutcliffe’s introductory news conference, Duke e-mailed supporters of the program with a video message from Cutcliffe asking them to buy tickets.

The school has contacted alumni in North Carolina and southern Virginia by automated phone message and e-mailed alumni worldwide Wednesday by e-mail. Advertisements are running in local newspapers, with radio ads and billboards on city buses coming soon.

“The excitement is high,” said Duke promotions director Bart Smith. “Everybody is excited about the new hire, and we’re trying to get everybody on board.”

Cutcliffe has expressed a desire to see Wallace Wade Stadium regularly filled with fans, and that seems a nearly unreachable goal now. But after making a high-profile hire that has received mostly good reviews from the media, capitalizing on some rare momentum in football is a smart approach at a place where they’re known for being smart.

– Ken Tysiac