Hard as it may be to believe, September is right around the corner, and with it, football season.
I'm sure all of you have Sept. 15 marked on your calendar, the day the Cougars host Idaho. This will mark the Cougars' first game of the season at Martin Stadium, and fans will receive their first opportunity to experience the benefits that the initial stadium renovations will offer them.
However, the Idaho game will not be our first home game of the season. This will occur a week prior, Sept. 8, against San Diego State at Seattle.
The game, billed as the Cougar Gridiron Classic presented by Washington’s Beef Producers, will mark the sixth consecutive year that the Cougars have played a regular season “home” game at Qwest Field, the home of the Seattle Seahawks.
Our initial game against Nevada in 2002 was a rousing success both on and off the field. The Cougars defeated the Wolf Pack 31-7 in front of a crowd of 63,588, the largest pro-Cougar audience to watch the team play.
In the three ensuing years, the Cougars attracted a crowd of over 50,000 for each of their games at Seattle, including 56,188 against Colorado in 2004.
Last year, though, a crowd of 41,358 attended our 17-15 win over Baylor, an attendance figure that was the smallest of the five games played in Seattle.
While we thank all those who attended the Baylor game and their support of Cougar Athletics, there is a growing concern that, while the athletics component of this week-long west side celebration started out as a very robust success five years ago, the trend line is moving in the wrong direction for us.
There is a myriad of factors that play a part in attendance success; however, it is a harsh reality that we need active participation in the game from more Cougs.
The annual Seattle game not only serves as a valuable component of promoting Cougar Athletics, but, in a broader scope, it is a valuable integration of Washington State University with the west side of the state.
WSU utilizes the week leading up to the game, known as "Seattle Week," to hold numerous events with the purpose of showcasing the University to its large alumni base along the I-5 corridor. "Seattle Week" has become a major component of the University's annual calendar, and the athletic department is proud to serve as its anchor.
This year's game will kickoff at 4 p.m. Single seats or blocks of seats are available in a wide range of price categories, from $7 to $50. If you are an individual who owns, or works for, a large company, consider taking advantage of our streamlined "Group Ticket Window" ordering process for larger blocks of tickets to the game. Any agent in the WSU Athletic Ticket Office (800-Go-Cougs or 509-335-9626) can walk you through the ticket buying process.
In conclusion, it is my goal to re-energize all the folks who were originally a part of that record-setting crowd in 2002 and get them back to Qwest Field again in 2007. Your participation, along with the participation of all your Cougar friends and family, is imperative to reach this standard once again.