College Fans Supporting Military through “Seats for Soldiers”
PLANO, Texas — When Purdue visits Penn State on Nov. 16, more than 2,500 active and retired members of the U.S. military will be cheering on the Nittany Lions in Beaver Stadium. The tickets will be provided for free to the brave men and women serving our nation courtesy of “Seats for Soldiers,” a new program that relies on donations from ticket holders and local businesses who simply want to thank the men and women who sacrifice so much for our country.
Penn State will also host a pre-game tailgate for military members and seat donors, which is expected to draw 4,500 people. Among the most notable supporters of Seats for Soldiers is Wal-mart, which will donate food, refrigerated trucks and have more than 100 employees from State College volunteer.
IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions, which provides schools a professional sales force to increase ticket sales, worked with eight of its partner schools to create the Seats for Soldiers ticket campaign.
“Our ticket sellers reach out to the local community and solicit donations used to purchase tickets for Active and Retired military members to a designated Military Appreciation game,” explained Brad Sexton, Director of National Sales for IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions. “It’s a great chance for fans to give back to the troops, and many college sports fans and companies eagerly do so.”
Penn State began the program in 2012, and it has grown tenfold. With seven other schools following Penn State’s lead, nearly 4,400 tickets are being donated to the military through this promotion.
“The Seats for Soldiers campaign and Military Appreciation Day have grown into a State wide event not only for Penn State fans and their families but for our service men and women as well,” said Alexa Hetzel of Penn State Athletics Marketing. “Penn State is pleased to have created this event to give back to those that have provided us the protection and freedom to host an event like this. We look forward to its success and growth for years to come.”
The IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions’ partner schools participating in Seats for Soldiers are The University of Akron, Arkansas University, Duke University, Penn State University, Temple University, University of Northern Iowa, and University of South Florida
Programs are supported through the generous contributions of businesses, season ticket holders, donors, local community members and other university stakeholders. These constituents purchase seats at a discounted price and donate back to the school.
Tickets are used by various entities, including Wounded Warriors Program, VFW’s and other Veteran groups, active military members such as the PA National Guard.
Each individual program is intended to serve all branches of the military, and a number of military entities are benefitting from the program including: U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Marines, National Guard Family Readiness Group, ROTC programs from Akron, Kent State and Penn State, Pennsylvania National Guard, Walter Reed Hospital and U.S. Army Recruitment Centers.
This weekend, in addition to Penn State, University of South Florida will also have a special Military Appreciation event during the Bulls’ game against Memphis on Saturday, Nov. 16. Fans can join the Seats for Soldiers program by purchasing packages of $200, $500 or $1,000 to send 20, 50 or 100 service members and veterans to the game for free at Raymond James Stadium.
Tickets are being donated to the MacDill Air Force Base and the Wounded Warrior Project and each donor will get pre-game recognition on the video board. Select packages allow a donor to also receive complimentary game tickets and a pre-game photo on the field.
ABOUT IMG LEARFIELD TICKET SOLUTIONS
Initially launched in January, 2011 as IMG College Ticket Solutions, and strengthened by a merger in April 2012, IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions provides schools a professional sales force to increase ticket sales. Either working from within the athletic department or from the national sales center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, this privatized tickets solution is designed to increase attendance and revenues generated from athletic events as well as choice and convenience when fans purchase tickets.
IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions, which is led by VP and Managing Director Matt DiFebo, offers schools complete ticket sales and customized revenue solutions ranging from consulting to comprehensive outsourcing.
For more information, please visit www.imglearfieldticketsolutions.com or contact Russ Dean at Russ.Dean@imglearfield.com.