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Cal football season ticket renewals dropped 33.2%, donations 23.7% in 2016-17

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Not good numbers.

NCAA Football: Texas at California John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to why Cal fired Sonny Dykes at such a late juncture, declining ticket sales were the tale du jour. It was mostly rumor, but there appeared to be some teeth behind the allegations.

Ryan Gorcey of Scout managed to obtain public records on the state of Cal football revenue. And the picture for ticket sales are not pretty at all for the state of Cal Athletics.

From Dec. 21, 2015 to Jan. 16, 2016, the season ticket renewal period immediately following the Bears' win in the Armed Forces Bowl, Cal took in $1,419,622 in season ticket renewals. For the same period in 2017. season ticket sales opened on Dec. 12, and BearTerritory requested data through Jan. 7, the day before Dykes was officially fired. That period (like the 2016 period, 26 days in duration), saw Cal take in $948,194 in season ticket renewal sales, $471,428 less than over the same period the year prior, a drop of 33.2%.

Donations have been dropping regularly as well. Cal took in $12,650,247 in financial gifts from July 2015 to January 2016. That number dipped to $9,652,982, a 23.7% drop.

Overall ticket sales have been on a decline in at least the first three seasons since Dykes arrived. We don’t have numbers on 2017 yet, but I doubt we’re going to see a huge upward spike.

  • FY2014 (Dykes’s first season, 2013): $10,340,902
  • FY2015: $7,308,111
  • FY2016: $6,337,720

You can see a steep decline in ticket sales after the 1-11 catastrophe.

Still, it’s a bit odd to think Cal Athletics had to wait for the numbers to come out. They had to guess the numbers would not be good after a 5-7 season and another dim outlook for 2017 with Dykes at the helm.

You’d have to think there were other factors at play.

  • Dykes interviewing (or at the very least, rumored to be interested) for other coaching jobs, like the Baylor vacancy. After Dykes signed his contract, there appeared to be a mutual understanding that there would be no more coaching searches.
  • Dykes taking over a month to land a new defensive coordinator. One of the prominent rumors was that Dykes had a list of candidates for defensive coordinator ready to go for Williams by early January, when the athletic director decided to terminate him.

Dykes has landed on his feet as an offensive analyst at TCU.