Pitt basketball ticket sales on the rise, Lyke says

November 24, 2018

On the eve of Pitt basketball coach Jeff Capel’s first public game - an exhibition Thursday night against Pitt-Johnstown at Petersen Events Center - ticket sales are “well ahead” of last year’s numbers, athletic director Heather Lyke said.

“Many of the people said `I took a little hiatus,′ ” she said, adding that suites and court-side seats are sold out.

“I know that we lost a significant number of season ticket holders and I would say we are back up well over that number (that was lost).”

Lyke credits Capel with restoring fans’ trust in the program. “The confidence we all have in (Jeff Capel) has permeated to our fans,” she said.

She said while Capel, a former Duke assistant, was being hired, he talked about the perception outsiders had of the Pete when it was regularly sold out.

“He described the environment as intimidating and a tough place to play,” Lyke said. “He knows what can happen there. It’s critically important that we get the Pete to where it was at one time.”

After the 2018-19 season, team benches will be flipped to the opposite side of the court, directly in front of the Oakland Zoo, so TV cameras can better project the atmosphere at games.

“Visibly from a national television standpoint, people will see what we all feel when we walk into the Pete,” Lyke said.

She said more than 1,100 new season tickets have been sold, not including those sold to students, for a total that is approaching 6,000.

Average attendance at the Pete last season, when Pitt was winless in the ACC, was 4,117. Capacity is 12,508.

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