Cardinals season-ticket holders staying on board - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Cardinals season-ticket holders staying on board

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Posted: Monday, July 21, 2008 9:53 pm | Updated: 10:51 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

They’re almost all staying on board. After two years in the Cardinals’ new stadium, fans seem happy enough with their new surroundings and the on-field product to give the club a shot at selling the place out for a third straight season.

They’re almost all staying on board.

After two years in the Cardinals’ new stadium, fans seem happy enough with their new surroundings and the on-field product to give the club a shot at selling the place out for a third straight season.

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The Cardinals say that, although they’re running slightly behind their sellout pace of the past couple of years, they’ve sold about 57,000 to 58,000 season tickets. They’d like to sell about 60,000 and have about 3,000 or so in reserve to sell on an individual-game basis.

The Tribune talked to several season-ticket holders, some picked at random at various parts of the stadium and others whose names were provided by the Cardinals.

Some were Westsiders who were new to big-league sports (at least on a season-ticket basis). Others were East Valley residents who have followed the Cardinals for years.

All say they are staying on board, though some are annoyed with the latest round of price increases — which average about $9 per ticket — at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Bryan Korte, 50, of Mesa has been a season-ticket holder since the Cardinals moved to Arizona in 1988.

His upper end-zone (first row) tickets have jumped from $15 per game last season to $25 this year.

“I’m not OK with the price jumping like that,” he said. “(But) I’m going to stick with it. ... We’ll see what happens after this season.”

Korte, who followed the Cardinals even before their move to Arizona — he grew up near St. Louis — said he likes the new coaching staff.

“I did see progress last year and think they will do even better this year.”

Gina Sepe, 30, of Scottsdale says her lower-level tickets went up $10 per game, to $100.

“I think that is a pretty steep increase. ... I’m not very happy about it. Not sure how much longer I will renew if prices keep going up like that.”

Another East Valley resident, Terri Farley, 55, of Gilbert, got on board because the Cardinals drafted quarterback Matt Leinart two years ago.

“That day, I called the ticket office,” said Farley, whose family knows Pete Carroll, the football coach at USC, where Leinart played.

“I was so excited. I didn’t even ask my husband.”

The Farleys also had season tickets in the Cardinals’ first two seasons in Arizona, 1988 and ’89, but stopped going to games to spend time watching their sons play football.

They plan to stick with the Cardinals, even choosing them over renewing their theater tickets at Gammage Auditorium for budget reasons.

“We’ve had so much fun,” said Farley, who is a big believer in coach Ken Whisenhunt. “The biggest improvement we’ve made is our coach.

“It’s exciting to be there. The rhythm of the game changed. It got to be more exciting.”

Others included:

• George Bradner, 73, of Peoria. He’s had season tickets before for the Arena Football League in Iowa and for Class AAA baseball.

“No. 1, I like the stadium. We would all like a winning team. But going to a game is a fun experience regardless of the outcome.

“I want the Cardinals to win, don’t get me wrong. But it’s fun to go with the emotions of the crowd, and it’s a fan-friendly stadium.”

• Terry Fergus. 61, of Goodyear, who bought season tickets when the Cardinals moved their games to Glendale two years ago.

“I’d never lived close enough,” said Fergus, who hadn’t purchased big-league season tickets before. “We’re still enjoying it. The stadium is fantastic. I wish they could win a little more, but they’ll do that eventually.”

• Richard Croley, 48, of Phoenix has been a Cardinals season-ticket holder off and on since they arrived in Arizona, including for the past eight years.

“I never lose hope. We got a good thing going now. Our coach is one of the top coaches. ... We’ve always had good athletes,” but in the past, “We’d been lacking coaching and chemistry.”

• Gary Dial, 68, of Peoria hadn’t purchased big-league season tickets until he signed up with the Cardinals, starting with their final two seasons at Sun Devil Stadium.

“I think it’s going in the right direction, from the coaching standpoint,” he said.

Dial said in the past, he noticed that former coach Dennis Green “stood off to the side with his arms folded. I rarely saw him talk to players or even his own coaches. I thought that was strange.”

With Whisenhunt, “It’s totally the opposite. He reminds me of Dave McGinnis. I really liked him.”

• Barbara Holcomb, 46, of Glendale just finished her first year as a season-ticket holder.

“Last season was a springboard. I’m encouraged and optimistic for the future of the franchise, more so than ever before.

“The stadium is great. The parking, the concessions — it’s an awesome stadium.

“I have no complaints. I’m encouraged and looking forward to next season.”

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