Riding sellout streak, Huskers offer up tickets

A commodity more valuable than some precious metals hit the open market this week: Nebraska football season tickets.

The program that proudly boasts a national-record 340 consecutive sellouts announced Monday afternoon that it had 1,500 season tickets up for grabs. There may be no bigger status symbol in the state of Nebraska than seats at Memorial Stadium in the fall, so to have so many available at once is surprising.

"This is a rare occurrence," Nebraska senior associate athletic director David Witty told ESPN.com. "It's a unique experience for our fans."

A change in the Huskers' visitor allotment caused many of those tickets to free up. Nebraska used to give 4,000 tickets to each opponent but now will follow the Big Ten standard of 3,000 per game for all visiting teams. The rest come from season tickets that were not renewed from 2014; Witty said about 95 percent of season ticket holders did renew, which is right in line with most years.

Big Red does have some work to do to keep alive that sellout streak, which could reach 350 in the 2016 season. But Witty is confident that the 1,500 seats will get claimed.

"We've already had a number of calls about them," Witty said. "There was quite a buzz on it [Monday] afternoon."

Nebraska will also have to distribute its entire 8,000-ticket student allotment to make a legitimate claim to sellout No. 341 and beyond. Although Witty didn't offer a specific number on student sales so far, he said it is ahead of the pace from last year and that there has been a "great response" from incoming freshmen. The school has lined up several events to promote student ticket sales between now and the Sept. 5 opener vs. BYU.

"We're in a good spot with those [student tickets]," he said.

The Huskers first sold out a home football game in 1962, and continuing that streak has become a major source of pride for the Nebraskans. One could argue it's the most impressive thing the program has going in light of the team's 15-year conference title drought.

As with all of these types of streaks, some creative accounting may come into play, as there have been definitely times when Memorial Stadium has had empty seats on game day. The streak looked to be in danger late last year, when some fans' displeasure with Bo Pelini crested. Still, the crowds kept showing up, and nobody can ever question the extreme loyalty of the Husker faithful.

"A lot of things have changed over the past 53 years, yet our fans have consistently come out here," Witty said. "You see some other places with attendance issues, but not here. That's a testament to the passion of our fan base."

The curiosity factor could prompt some fans to see what the Mike Riley era is all about. And Witty noted that the home schedule is attractive, beginning with the first-ever meeting against BYU and featuring Wisconsin, Michigan State and Iowa in Big Ten play.

Oregon visits Memorial Stadium in 2016, and future home-and-home series include former Big 12 rivals Colorado and Oklahoma. Plus, marquee Big Ten East opponents like Ohio State and Michigan will be back in Lincoln soon.

Since the visitor allotment doesn't figure to change again any time soon, this might be the most Nebraska tickets to hit the market since the stadium expanded to 87,000 seats in 2013. In other words, these precious commodities might not be as readily available in future years.

"Get 'em now," Witty says.