The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

September 10, 2012

WVU-JMU ticket sales slow

By Mickey Furfari
For The Register-Herald

MORGANTOWN — Early signs suggest that there will be thousands of empty seats for the West Virginia University-James Madison University football game Saturday.

It’s scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. That’s where the Washington Redskins play their home games.

They might well fill the 85,000-seat stadium for National Football League games. But ticket sales for this college contest reportedly haven’t been good at all.

Despite the fact that the Washington-Baltimore area is heavily populated by WVU graduates, Matt Wells reported going into the weekend that, “We have sold just over 9,600 tickets at WVU.” He added, “Another 900 will be needed for the university’s use.”

Those will go to the players’ families, the ninth-ranked Mountaineers’ traveling party and other internal needs.

Wells, assistant athletic director for marketing and sales, said that total of 10,500 that were sold in Morgantown probably will hit 20,000 before Saturday.

This is his expectation, anyway.

James Madison University reportedly had sold about 6,000 tickets to its fans by last Friday.

A Washington Redskins official declined to give out any information about ticket sales. He explained that the club does not give out such data.

However, the official did say, “But we are pleased with the progress of ticket sales and expect to have a great game,” he added.

WVU is guaranteed $2.3 million for playing in that game.

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I am saddened to learn that long-time friend Homer Shaffer died last week in Waynesburg, Pa., where he lived.

He was 91.

Shaffer not only was a graduate of West Virginia University but served his alma mater’s athletic department for more than a half century.

He operated the scoreboard for 53 years during football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball games.

Homer grew up in the Terra Alta area, in Preston County, and was a teacher and coach at Masontown High School for several years.

Until his health weakened, he would be seen sitting in the press box sports venue alongside journalist Norman Julian.

Those two gentlemen have been great friends for many years.