Cal's neutral-site season opener against Fresno State at Candlestick Park is beginning to look like a Bulldogs home game.
According to the latest figures, Fresno State's ticket office has sold 12,000 tickets whereas Cal has sold only 7,500. It's harder to keep tabs on tickets sold through other outlets such as StubHub, but Bulldogs fans seem to be scooping up tickets at a much brisker rate than Cal enthusiasts.
"In general, I think everyone is having a little more of a challenge selling tickets than we had hoped," Cal associate athletic director Matt Terwilliger said. "We are really hoping that volume picks up. We typically see a surge toward the end."
Cal and Fresno State teamed up with two independent promoters to put on the game. Each school gets a revenue guarantee based on a predetermined allotment of tickets sold. The promoter keeps all the other operating revenue for the event.
To receive its guarantee of $1,050,000, Cal must sell tickets totaling a revenue of $637,500. Terwilliger said the school is still $175,000 short of meeting that goal.
Fresno State's agreement required it to sell 10,000 tickets, which it did easily. That earned the school $900,000 up front.
To meet the revenue requirements, only tickets sold through Cal's athletic ticket office count.
Cal's lagging sales prompted athletic director Sandy Barbour to send a mass email to supporters last week, imploring them not only to buy tickets but also to make sure they buy them through Cal.
"I am challenging our Cal community to surpass Fresno State for fan support in attendance and tickets sold," Barbour wrote in the email. "I just can't imagine that our community would allow Fresno to come to the Bay Area and outnumber us at Candlestick Park on Sept. 3. I know we won't let that be the case."
Cal coach Jeff Tedford is a former Fresno State quarterback and offensive coordinator. He said Cal fans "have been a large part of our success" and hopes Bulldogs fans won't make up the majority of the crowd.
"When you have a game in your backyard, you would hope that your fans would at least match the support of the other team," Tedford said. "I hope as it gets closer to the game our fans come out and create an environment for us that is at least neutral."