Fans make donations to get priority bowl seating

Foundation members get bowl seat priority

In the past few weeks, donations to the Ragin’ Cajuns Athletic Foundation grew by nearly $40,000 from fans interested in the privilege foundation membership brings — priority seating in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome when the Cajuns face Tulane University in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl on Dec. 21.

The university offers priority seating to the bowl first to its foundation members, followed by season ticket holders, then Alumni Association members.

The team’s success has led to increased interest in the athletic foundation, which launched in 2009. This is the team’s third consecutive trip to the New Orleans Bowl and the berths have helped boost interest in the athletic foundation.

“In the last three weeks, we’ve gone up 78 donors and almost $40,000 — which is pretty good for the last month of a calendar year,” said Scott Farmer, UL-Lafayette athletic director. “Overall, we’re up over 200 donors over last year and last year we were 600 up. That shows that fans are donating to the annual fund and renewing the following year.”

The perk period for priority seating for the bowl in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome closed Friday. Details on tickets sold so far were unavailable Monday, but sales were expected to exceed last year’s ticket sales of nearly 24,000, said Matt Casbon, UL-Lafayette ticket manager.

“We’ve seen tremendous response from our RCAF members. They’ve shown they’re excited about the game,” Casbon said. “They’re excited about the opportunity to go down to New Orleans for the game, but also for all the other functions for fans.”

The flurry for tickets continued Monday as staff sorted order forms and filled ticket requests. Some fans showed up at the ticket office to fill out their order forms on the spot.

A trio of UL-Lafayette first-time freshmen from Slidell, Nicole Andrew, Riley Frank and Courtney Bozant, grabbed an order form Monday.

“It’s our first bowl game for us in college,” said Andrew, a nursing major. “It’s a different experience.”

The trio planned to purchase additional tickets to watch the Ragin’ Cajuns play close to their hometown.

“Our families are going,” Frank and Bozant said in unison.

“My dad’s an alum from here, so he does what he can for UL,” Bozant said.

Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets from the university so it can show a track record of interest — but also to be assured they are sitting with other Ragin’ Cajun fans, said Brian McCann, the university’s sports information officer.

“If you buy from other sources, you won’t know where you’ll be sitting. You could be in a Tulane section,” McCann said. “It also helps give us bowl credit. We can lock in and tell people how many tickets we were credited for selling. That makes us more attractive to bowl games in the future.”

The university received an allotment of 16,000 tickets this year, an increase based on a history of strong ticket sales for the bowl, Casbon said.

Last year, the university was allotted 13,000 tickets and sold nearly 24,000, Casbon said.

“I have no doubt that we’ll surpass it this year,” Casbon said.