Duke selling discounted tickets as Hurricane Joaquin nears

With Hurricane Joaquin potentially making landfall in North Carolina this weekend, the prospect of torrential downpour affecting Duke's attendance for its football game on Saturday was the topic of discussion among the school's marketing team.

The result? Tropical Roulette.

Starting Wednesday, the athletic department will look at the weather forecast to see what the chance of rain is for the 3:30 p.m. game against Boston College on Saturday. Depending on those forecast odds -- as recorded in readings taken at 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. each day -- tickets will be discounted accordingly.

The biggest discount will come if, at the time of reading, there's a 90 percent chance of rain or greater. In that case, general admission tickets will be discounted 50 percent off the regular $25, dropping the price to $12.50 a ticket. The smallest discount -- 10 percent -- comes if there's less than a 30 percent chance of rain for the game.

The first reading at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday was 80 percent, which means Blue Devils fans will get a 40 percent discount until 1 p.m. when the next reading is taken.

"Fans can decide to lock in their ticket now or roll the dice and wait," said Chris Alston, director of football marketing for the school.

As of Thursday morning, Accuweather.com was calling for more than 2 inches of rain on Saturday at Duke, with showers continuing throughout the game.

If the game is cancelled, fans can exchange the ticket for one to another game with a similar seat location.

The school, which typically has a higher-than-average walk-up crowd, has had disappointing attendance in its last two weeks against two ranked teams, Northwestern and Georgia Tech. Duke (3-1) drew 24,127 for its loss to the No. 16 Wildcats and 20,101 for its win against the No. 23 Yellow Jackets.

Alston said that the rain in forecast is causing little concern for the field given that the Blue Devils' new field has the capacity to drain 8 to 10 inches per hour.