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Originally published September 22, 2022 at 02:42p.m., updated September 22, 2022 at 07:57p.m.

Kansas officials announce a sellout for Saturday’s KU football game vs. Duke

Kansas University football fans cheer during the Jayhawks' early-season victory against Louisiana-Monroe at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas University football fans cheer during the Jayhawks' early-season victory against Louisiana-Monroe at Memorial Stadium.

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The Kansas football program’s 11 a.m. kickoff against unbeaten 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 had been sold, marking the program’s first sellout since Nov. 2, 2019, and just the second in nearly 13 years.

KU drew a respectable crowd of 34,902, for the season opener against Tennessee Tech on Sept. 2. That was the largest opening day crowd in eight years. But KU’s 3-0 start to the season, which has included road wins at West Virginia and Houston in the two weeks since the opener, has added to the buzz surrounding the program.

“It’s great to be back home after a couple on the road,” KU coach Lance Leipold said earlier this week. “And I think it’s important that we have a good crowd. Hopefully we’ll have a good crowd for a lot of different reasons. I think we have a chance now to create some energy and a homefield advantage.”

For years, KU administrators and coaches have begged for fan support to help the stagnant program get up off the mat. And for years, fans mostly stayed away, as the Jayhawks continued to take loss after loss and struggled to compete on most Saturdays.

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

That sellout was made easier, of course, by the fact that nearly a third of the fans in attendance that day were wearing purple and cheering for Kansas State.

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

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

Leipold won just two games in his first season at Kansas, but one of them came at Texas late in the season and that sparked KU to play inspired football in one-score losses in the final two weeks of the season. The momentum from those efforts has carried over into the start of the 2022 season, and Leipold already has won more road games at Kansas (3) than his four predecessors combined.

This week is all about the home crowd, though.

As excitement grew over KU’s overtime win at West Virginia in Week 2 and 48-30 win at Houston last week, fans started social media campaigns seeking to fill David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium for the matchup with Duke. “Pack the Booth,” was the rallying cry, and the Jayhawk faithful appear to have done just that, surpassing more than 12,000 new single-game tickets sold in the five days that followed the win over Houston.

"This is a tremendous statement regarding both the exciting trajectory of Kansas football and the incredible passion of Jayhawk fans," KU Athletic Director Travis Goff said in a statement Thursday night. "We are excited to host an atmosphere at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium that will rival the best in college football. We are grateful for the way our fans have responded to the momentum of Kansas football and I am confident sellouts will no longer be the exception to the rule in our bright future."

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

Counting Saturday, the Jayhawks’ next three games are 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 close to it again the following week when KU hosts Iowa State.

When asked about the potential for the upcoming homestand, Leipold said three consecutive home games can be huge for a program and also can present distractions. The key, he said, would be balancing that out. But he noted that there’s no doubt in his mind that supportive and strong home crowds can be “beneficial to (helping) this program take another step.”

“Our fans, the loyal fans, have been waiting for something, starving for (us to be) successful,” he said. “Hopefully it’s meshing at the right time, and we’ll have three weeks of great crowds.”

Comments

Joey Meyer 5 days, 21 hours ago

Way to go Jayhawks. Can't wait for this game Saturday!

Michael Maris 5 days, 21 hours ago

Stadium capacity is now below 50,000?

Hmmmmm........

Jonathan Allison 5 days, 20 hours ago

It has been below 50,000 for probably 10 years I think. I think that it was the result of converting some regular seats to luxury booths or something like that...

Matt Tait 5 days, 4 hours ago

You weren't way off. ;-) You had the basic idea. I was just as off as you. Someone asked me when it happened the other day and I said within the last year. It's been more than three now. Crazy how time flies. Of course, those were some (of the many) forgettable years, too.

It's going to be cool to see the place full again tomorrow.

Matt Tait 5 days, 20 hours ago

It dropped in 2019, when they put in the Field Goal Club in the north bowl. That dropped it from 50,000 to the 47,233 capacity it currently sits at.

Dirk Medema 5 days, 19 hours ago

Maybe even more proud of the Jayhawk community as I am of the team and that’s saying a lot. I’ve seen other turnarounds both at KU and elsewhere. In all those instances, attendance always lagged behind the performance on the field. Maybe social media helps. Regardless, it’s great to see a sellout. Hopefully, it will keep growing.

Hopefully, the fans have also listened to Coach enough to hear him comment about his message of resilience to the team. Not everything is going to go right for us. Part of our success so far has come from doing the right things the right way even after things go wrong. Whether it’s a penalty or turnover, opponent scoring or even a loss, hopefully we can stay supportive. It makes a difference.

Rodney Crain 5 days, 8 hours ago

COY Dirk we have been over this, none of the big awards calls it a coty.

Gary Wirsig 5 days, 3 hours ago

Which highlights even more the uniqueness of Coach Leipold...not just COY, but an entirely new designator, COTY!! I, for one, like it, Dirk (and Rodney)! :)

Rodney Crain 4 days, 22 hours ago

Ok. If he wins one/some of these awards this year, I think he will be very happy to accept a COY award.

Brad Watson 5 days, 19 hours ago

If we win this week...maybe they can find a way to squeeze 50,000 in next week...with some standing room spots around the stadium....the time to figure that out is now....refund the people in South End Zone and bring in temp bleachers...who knows...I am sure there are some options to look at and consider.....but it looks like it is going to be sold out for the rest of the season...which is awesome!

Brian Skelly 5 days, 18 hours ago

Gameday should have come to Lawrence. But if we keep winning, maybe that happens.

Brad Watson 5 days, 17 hours ago

I have heard from people I know in Nebraska...who say...that we are all they are talking about up there in the sea of corn....a lot of them...believe it or not... are becoming KU fans now....and they love and appreciate really good football...so a lot of them have become smitten with our team......and because it's a bye week for them....some have bought tickets and will be traveling down for the game....Nebraska fans miss coming to Lawrence...they like everything about the town ...so we are gaining new fans in the strangest of places...this football contagion is infecting the entire college football world...casting a spell on anyone who comes into contact with it...this years team is now officially AMERICAS' TEAM!!!!

Matt Tait 5 days, 4 hours ago

I don't know about America's Team just yet, but this is really interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Brad Watson 5 days, 3 hours ago

Matt...I think some of it has to do with their curiosity about Coach being a replacement up there and Coach being thought of as one of their own in a way...then I think that led to them watching some of our games...which led to them becoming fans ...now they want to see it in person and in their minds...it's kind of a job interview...even though they are just fans..Nebraska people take football VERY SERIOUSLY...it would not surprise if there was a Trev Alberts sighting on Saturday..along with some other "Suits" from up there...but this is just speculation...an educated guess...that's it!

Bryce Landon 5 days, 16 hours ago

For once I actually wish I could be at Memorial Stadium! Let's hope the Jayhawks make it worth the fans' while and BEAT PUKE!

Len Shaffer 5 days, 15 hours ago

I have a serious question for you, Bryce: if you only care about a team when it wins, how can it mean that much to you?

I mean for years you have been crowing about how big of an Iowa fan you are, only to now take KU seriously again.

For those of us who are passionate fans through all of the down times, when they start to turn it around it's incredibly exciting and actually means something special, but I just can't understand how it can mean that much to someone like you. I mean, there's a reason that someone came up with the term "front-runner."

Rodney Schulz 5 days, 5 hours ago

You have a point about “fair weather fans” but Bryce, like any respectable guy, doesn’t follow and support incompetence, and since 1978, which is a long time ago (I was an equipment manager for the KU football team that year), KU football has been an example of incompetence from the chancellor down with the exception of a few good years under Glenn Mason and then under the dysfunctional Mangino.

Jonathan Allison 5 days, 5 hours ago

Bryce did in fact attend and graduate from KU. I for one don't find it hard to understand that if a person was raised as a fan of one team, then attends a different school becomes a fan of that school; then being a fan for both teams. Not all of us were born and raised rooting for the Jayhawks. Neither of my parents attended traditional colleges or had any interest in college sports. I became a fan of KU basketball in HS during the Hinrich and Collison years. I chose to go to KU over OK State and K-State after one year at Pitt State, because I had a friend who I had made plans to come with me. He didn't end up coming, and had I known that he wasn't going to come I most likely would have chosen K-State because it was close to my mom's house outside of Junction City. Then I would have been a fan of the purple kitties. As it is, my whole family became KU fans because I went there. So, not everyone who roots for KU has royal blue bloodlines like many of the posters on this site. The fact is that this site with it's affiliation to the LJW and the Lawrence community has the best KU fans and most lifelong KU fans of any other place on the web because so many were born and raised in or around Lawrence and KU. The rest us are grafted in.

Eliott Reeder 5 days, 3 hours ago

Nope. Len is 100% correct about Bryce, who is the worst kind of fan EVER and has ZERO standing when it comes to KU football fandom. I don't mind people who ignored the team during the down years but are now hopping on the bandwagon and enjoying the turnaround, but those of us who read every single KU football article every single year have suffered through his constant derision and making fun of the team. He is quite the OPPOSITE of a KU football fan. He was talking smack on KU and posting "ON IOWA" in early September, see below. Bryce is pure traaaaaaaash.

Rodney Crain 5 days, 8 hours ago

Len, the sellout is being driven by DUKE fans, or front runner fans who are coming to the game to see a winning program.

Just cause you stuck with a losing program for 13 years, does not mean that as we keep winning new or returning fans should not be welcomed.

I know big concepts are over your head but I think it is great Bryce is with us. His money spends the same as yours.

Jonathan Allison 5 days, 5 hours ago

highly unlikely that the sellout being driven by Duke fans. I guess by definition then the sellout is driven by "front-runners" and "bandwagon" fans.

Eliott Reeder 5 days, 3 hours ago

Bandwagon fans are one thing, actively logging in to this website and making fun of KU football and talking trash on the team a la Bryce over the past few years is another thing entirely.

Rodney Crain 4 days, 22 hours ago

Jon lets see how many Duke fans in the stands traveled to see their undefeated team fly to catch a game, where there are still 1000 tickets for sale, some at a loss, from ticket resellers.

We can also see how many empty sections/seats are visible on tv. We sold out Allen during bans during the pandemic.

Lance Hobson 5 days, 16 hours ago

Brad Watson, that’s interesting about the Nebraska fans. I always thought it was sad for their fans when they went to the Big 10. Gone were these easy road trips where they’d take over Lawrence or Manhattan.

Jonathan Allison 5 days, 5 hours ago

agreed. it's terrible how many rivalries were broken up by conference realignment in the past 15 years.

Dirk Medema 5 days, 9 hours ago

Lance - There are a lot of things that Huskers are sad are gone. Quality football is at the top of the list, hence the road-trip to Lawrence.

Rodney Crain 5 days, 8 hours ago

Actually the Huskers have lost their identity. They have no rival school, no one in-state to play, nor traditions that date back over 100 years. They still draw 87,000 for each home game.

Brad Watson 5 days, 4 hours ago

This has been the longest week that I can remember since I was a little kid...most weeks fly by...not this one....WILL SATURDAY EVER GET HERE????

David Robinett 5 days, 4 hours ago

Hey, can we avoid sniping at each other in this space? I can almost understand it when we suck, but things are going well so let’s be happy and get along.

Just a little restraint guys.

Rodney Crain 4 days, 22 hours ago

David, Dirk calls this space a discussion area, not a place for sniping. So, a different point of view, if not Dirk's, needs to be shouted down. Some people with a backbone, take issue with that. It causes conflict.

Who knew?

Dirk Medema 4 days, 23 hours ago

Just a little BB-FB nerding.

Everyone has long heard that FB drives the athletic budget because of the size of the venue. In our case, we know that the Phog will be sold out (16,300-ish I think down slightly since some renos) for 16 home games. Compared to 6 home football games, we would need about 44,000 per game for football games to exceed BB attendance.

Obviously, there’s way more that goes into revenue. Matt’s article about the special seating/game day options point out just a few. But interesting that selling out the Booth for the remainder of the season would guarantee the greater attendance total.

Also saw Jalen giving a shout out to the football team. Love it.

Dirk Medema 4 days, 23 hours ago

Also, it is a small portion of the Booth that is for visiting fans (25%?). The sellout most definitely is not driven by Dookies. Maybe if we were playing the kitties or clones, but not the dookies, though everyone is welcome to their rain cloud reality if desired. For some, the sky doesn’t fall in bad times. For some, it has a form foundation on their shoulders.

Rodney Crain 4 days, 21 hours ago

Skies can be dark but can bring yarrow, sunny skies can still be full of sorrow. Know when to move, know when to rest, it is not easy to know which is best. Caution can be forgiven, boldness beating your chest, Seek solace in all for any could be the final test.

I like this, do you want to quote parts of poems to each other? Leaves of Grass is one of my favorites - Walt Whitman

Dirk Medema 4 days, 11 hours ago

First there were grammar police. Who knew there would be hashtag police. 🤪

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