Kansas officials announce a sellout for Saturday’s KU soccer game against Duke

Kansas officials announce a sellout for Saturday’s KU soccer game against Duke

The Kansas Football Program’s 11:00 a.m. kick-off against the undefeated Duke on Saturday is officially sold out.

Kansas officials announced Thursday afternoon that all 47,233 tickets for KU’s second home game of the season have been sold, marking the program’s first sell-out since Nov. 2, 2019 and only the second in almost 13 years.

KU drew a respectable 34,902 viewers in their season opener against Tennessee Tech on September 2nd. That was the biggest opening-day crowd in eight years. But KU’s 3-0 start to the season, which has included road wins in West Virginia and Houston in the two weeks since opening, has added to the excitement surrounding the program.

“It’s great to be back home after a few trips,” KU coach Lance Leipold said earlier this week. “And I think it’s important that we have a good audience. Hopefully we’ll have a good audience for many different reasons. I think we have a chance now to build up some energy and a home advantage.”

For years, KU admins and coaches have asked for fan support to help the stalled program get off the mat. And for years, fans mostly stayed away as the Jayhawks continued to suffer loss after loss and struggled to compete most Saturdays.

The 2019 sell-off came during Les Miles’ first season with Kansas State in town. In the two weeks leading up to this season’s Sunflower Showdown, the Jayhawks had shown signs of life with a near-excitement in Texas and a rare Big 12 win over Texas Tech. Kansas scored 48 and 37 points in those two games, respectively, and fans came to see if the Jayhawks had turned a corner.

This sell-off was of course made easier by the fact that almost a third of the fans in attendance that day wore purple and cheered on Kansas State.

The Jayhawks lost that game 38-10 to finish the season 3-9. KU went winless in 2020 (0-9) and Miles, like so many before him, was shown the door partly for on-field performance and partly for his involvement in an ugly sexual harassment scandal while at LSU.

Miles’ departure led to the hiring of Leipold, who in just 15 games has led people to believe the program is actually heading in the right direction again.

Leipold only won two games in his freshman season in Kansas, but one of those came late in the season in Texas and that caused KU to play inspired football in the last two weeks of the season and dropped a point. The momentum from those efforts has carried over into the start of the 2022 season, and Leipold has already won more away games in Kansas (3) than his four predecessors combined.

This week, however, is all about the home crowd.

As excitement mounted over KU’s Week 2 overtime win in West Virginia and last week’s 48-30 win in Houston, fans launched social media campaigns to promote David Booth’s Kansas Memorial Stadium for to fill the duel with Duke. “Pack the booth” was the rallying cry, and Jayhawk supporters appear to have done just that, selling more than 12,000 new single-game tickets in the five days following the defeat of Houston.

“This is a great statement of both the exciting evolution of Kansas football and the incredible passion shown by Jayhawk fans,” KU athletic director Travis Goff said in a statement Thursday night. “We are excited to host an atmosphere worthy of the best in college football at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. We are grateful for how our fans have responded to the momentum of Kansas football and I am confident that sellouts will no longer be the exception rather than the norm in our bright future.”

While Saturday’s showdown with Duke got Kansas fans excited, the reality of the situation is that KU now has a chance to make a run and make a statement.

With Saturday the Jayhawks’ next three games at home, and based on the excitement surrounding the program today, it stands to reason that if KU can beat Duke this weekend, the stadium will be full, or nearly full, again the following week will be when KU hosts the state of Iowa.

When asked about the potential for the upcoming homestand, Leipold said three back-to-back home games can be huge for a program and can also present distractions. The key, he said, would be balancing that. However, he noted that he has no doubt that supportive and strong home audiences “can be useful in helping this program take another step.”

“Our fans, the loyal fans, have been waiting and waiting for (we) to succeed,” he said. “Hopefully it comes at the right time and we’re going to have three weeks full of big crowds.”