OU fans renew season tickets at 99 percent rate

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Isn't there supposed to be a recession that hampers discretionary spending across the country?

Oklahoma football appears to be about as immune to economic forces as any entity after the school announced they have a 99 percent retention rate among season-ticket holders.

The school announced that about 69,000 general-public season tickets were sold for the upcoming season. When added to the 8,000 season tickets sold to Oklahoma students, it provides the basis for the 77,000 season tickets the school has sold for home games.

School officials report that the typical renewal rate is about 96 percent and has never dropped below 94 percent in Bob Stoops' coaching tenure. The current figure is believed to be a school record.

"The season ticket renewal rate is evidence of the strong support given to the University of Oklahoma by our graduates and the people of Oklahoma," Oklahoma president David Boren said. "The support of Oklahomans for both our athletic and academic programs inspires us to reach for even higher standards of excellence."

Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione also is grateful for the strong, broad-based support for his program.

"When we speak so glowingly about their dedication and support of our program, it's not just lip service," Castiglione said. "These numbers illustrate why we praise them the way we do; they're remarkable. We don't have all the figures, but it wouldn't surprise me if that renewal rate led the nation. This rate would be exceptional any year but is especially notable during these challenging economic times."

Stoops called out Sooner fans before the Texas Tech game last year, hoping they would provide more of a homefield advantage for a game that helped decide the South Division championship.

The ploy worked as the Sooners claimed an impressive 65-21 victory over the Red Raiders, helping catapult them to their record third-straight Big 12 championship. Oklahoma's home record under Stoops is 60-2 with a current 24-game home winning streak that is the longest in the nation.

"They're incredible," Stoops said of the Oklahoma fans. "The love they have for this program is overwhelming, and it means so much to us. From a coaching perspective, it's rewarding to me to hear our players talk about (the fans). They can't wait to tell people what it's like to play in front of that crowd in Norman, and the personal meaning it has to each one of them is something that's hard to describe."