Fans camp out to get Dobyns-Bennett season tickets

Rick Wagner • Aug 20, 2013 at 9:58 AM

KINGSPORT — Instead of camping out for Black Friday retail deals the day after Thanksgiving, some Dobyns-Bennett High School football fans camped out for season tickets on Maroon and Gray — the third Monday of August.

Folks started lining up for available 2013-14 D-B season tickets at about 7 p.m. Sunday, 13 hours before the tickets went on sale at 8 a.m. Monday.

School system spokesman Andy True and D-B Athletic Director Cary Daniels said that 2012-13 season ticket holders had three weeks, until Friday afternoon, to purchase season tickets.

After that, tickets became available at 8 a.m. Monday morning.

“We have about 51 left over,” Daniels said Monday afternoon of some double and some single seats. In his eight years as athletic director, he said that is far below what is normally left over after the first day of season ticket sales.

“This is the best we’ve done so far in season tickets,” Daniels said, adding that normally 200 to 300 are left. By the first game of the season, Farragut at home Thursday, he said there may be only 20 or 30 left. Fans will no longer be able to purchase season tickets after the Farragut game.

Daniels said that there are about 3,700 season tickets at D-B for J. Fred Johnson Stadium but that he couldn’t give an exact count of how many tickets were sold Monday because some fans traded in their season tickets for better season tickets.

Daniels and True said the high interest and demand for the season tickets bodes well for the proposed renovation and expansion of J. Fred Johnson stadium.

“That should help show there’s a demand for season tickets,” Daniels said. “The demand for season tickets is growing each year.”

True said the season ticket seekers camping out was “a great indication of the demand outstripping the supply at this point.”

Some of the season ticket holders want larger blocks of tickets, not one or two by themselves, True said Monday afternoon.

Daniels said those who buy season tickets this year will have the chance for a one-time upgrade of seats next year in the newly renovated and expanded stadium — under a proposed memorandum of understanding with the city outlining a $100 one-time fee per seat for the upgrade.

Mayor Dennis Phillips has said the stadium project needs to come in at about $4.4 million, but two contractors last week bid $5.7 million on the project, although value engineering and leaving out certain parts of the project could reduce the cost.

Daniels said the concrete bleachers — circa 1942 in the original yellow-brick structure on the home side — seat about 3,900, including about 220 general admission seats.

The visitor’s side has aluminum bleachers seating about 2,500 people, while the band section seats about 400 and the baseball stands can seat 1,700 to 2,000. All told, he said the stadium as it is now can seat about 8,500 people for a football game or other event, including use of the baseball stands commonly used for games with Science Hill High School.

The stadium project would result in an additional 1,800 seats, although 300 existing seats would be lost in the old concrete sections because of handrails and other safety upgrades in the stadium project.

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