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Ole Miss rolls out new flex football season ticket package

In an attempt to boost season ticket sales, Ole Miss has introduced a new football season ticket package for the upcoming season.

The school’s ticket office this week announced the Rebel Flex Pass, which buys one ticket to all seven home games for $199. This year’s home slate includes non-conference tilts against Southern Illinois (Sept. 8), Kent State (Sept. 22) and Louisiana Monroe (Oct. 6) and four SEC games highlighted by visits from defending national champion Alabama (Sept. 15) and rival Mississippi State (Nov. 22).

Not unlike most Power Five programs competing with lucrative television contracts that make it convenient for fans to save money by watching games from their home, Ole Miss has had more trouble selling season tickets than in years past. Exacerbating the issue again is the fallout from the NCAA’s investigation into the program, including a multi-year postseason ban that will keep the Rebels out of a bowl for the second straight season unless the penalty is reserved on appeal.

Ole Miss had sold 42,359 season tickets as of Friday afternoon, associate athletics director for ticket operations Wesley Owen said — an 18 percent decrease from the 51,806 sold at the same time last year. Season tickets don’t include students tickets, the visiting team’s allotment or the band, which make up the rest of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium’s capacity of 64,038.

“This year we decided to do it because we did have more inventory to deal with and we knew that we would have to find more creative ways because we do have work to do in regards to season-ticket sales,” Owen said.

The price is half of the regular season-ticket package, which has drawn some pushback from donors that pay $400 for season tickets months in advance in order to reserve seats of their choice that require a donation (sections in the South end zone don’t require a per-seat donation). But there are catches that justify the difference in price, Owen said.

Unlike donors who will sit in the same seat every game, people who buy the flex pass will not know where they’re sitting until the ticket is emailed 24 hours before the game. Those tickets can’t be transferred nor will there be time for people to sell their ticket on the secondary market in an attempt to salvage some of the cost if they end up not being able to attend a certain game.

Tickets for flex passes will come from any that are returned to the ticket office, including the visiting team’s allotment and complimentary tickets such as those set aside for recruits that aren’t used.

“You really could be sitting in the middle of Auburn fans or Alabama fans, so once we’ve made that explanation and kind of done the differences between what is a season ticket and what is a flex pass, they understand,” Owen said. “Not a lot of people are going to want a variable seat every time. They’re not going to want to be surrounded by visiting team’s fans, and they’re not going to not know where they’re going to sit.

“We don’t want to it to seem like our season-ticket holders are being taken for granted or anything like that. We definitely appreciate them.”

Owen said approximately 60 flex passes have been sold since the school unveiled the package Thursday afternoon, but will it be an option beyond this season? Circumstances will likely dictate that.

“It’ll be a year-by-year thing, I think,” he said. “There’s a lot of test markets that everybody does too, so that may be one of those things. … We’re just trying to sell as many as we can at this point.”

Season tickets can be purchased online at olemisstix.com.