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Once Sought Only By Die-Hard Fans, Season Tickets at Florida Atlantic are a Hot Commodity

The FAU Men's Basketball Team made history last spring by making it to the Final Four. Now, demand to see the Owls play is so high that season tickets sold out for the first time ever.

Photo by JC Ridley

By Dylan Backer | MediaLab@FAU

Dec 8, 2023

Florida Atlantic Men’s Basketball continues to set new records, as FAU announced last month that season tickets have been sold out for the first time in school history. 

This comes as the excitement around the Owls is sky-high following last year’s miraculous run to the Final Four in the NCAA Tournament. 

Brian White, vice president and director of athletics at Florida Atlantic, said that the increase in fan interest is monumental for the school.

“It’s extremely exciting,” said White. “To have a hot ticket in town in a community with a whole lot of other entertainment options, and to have so much interest in FAU basketball is extremely exciting for all of us. It’s come a long way.”

The buzz around the team began to pick up serious steam towards the end of last season prior to the tournament, and is only continuing to grow as the new season gets underway, according to White. 

He added that the final seven home games of the regular season were sellouts, including a record-setting 3,240 fans in attendance on Feb. 25 for Florida Atlantic’s game against the University of Texas at El Paso.

“It was loud, it was fun, there was a great atmosphere in that arena,” said White. “We expect that all year long [this season].”

White said that he and his staff want to ensure that the season tickets that were bought are actually used to attend games, whether a ticket is used by the original buyer or a different person who may have purchased them from other original buyers.

He said that is the main focus from a marketing standpoint given that the demand currently outweighs the supply. 

“Your marketing turns from selling tickets to making sure that everyone uses their tickets or gets them to somebody to use,” said White. “It’s all very good problems to have.” 

Local Boca Raton resident Bryan Drowos bought Florida Atlantic season tickets for his family for the first time this year, adding that last season’s tournament run was a driving force into his decision.

“We found out Dusty was coming back, and most of the team was coming back so we immediately bought season tickets because we wanted to be a part of it from the start,” said Drowos, referring to Head Coach Dusty May.

Drowos said that he and his family have been supporters of FAU athletics for several years, and were even granted the opportunity to follow the team around the country during last year’s NCAA tournament through the university’s athletics department. He added that this experience got him “hooked” onto the basketball team.

Drowos described the process of purchasing as “relatively smooth,” as he has a close relationship with the athletics department thanks to his wife’s affiliation with FAU’s College of Medicine. He said that he was picking his seats for the school’s football season, as he is also a Florida Atlantic football season ticket holder, when he decided to look at men’s basketball tickets.

“By the time we were doing that, they were already going fast,” said Drowos. “But we made sure to get our seats long before they sold out.”

Another Boca resident, Matt Weiss, purchased season tickets so that he and his son can attend as many games as possible. Weiss’ son is also a freshman at FAU.

“I’ve always been a college basketball fan,” said Weiss, 68. “My wife and I decided it would be a good thing to go [with our son]. It’s a very reasonable price for entertainment.” 

Weiss added that season tickets were not too expensive for his budget, stating that the price was around $700 for the full season.

“Of course, we are like the second last row in the corner,” said Weiss. “But, it’s a small gym, so it's exciting. It’s not like nosebleeds.”

White said that with the increased demand, tickets to home games were sold via season tickets only for non-students. If fans want to purchase individual game tickets, they will have to wait until visiting teams return a portion of their allotment for a specific game so that Florida Atlantic can sell them to their home fans if they choose to do so, but there is no guarantee that they will become available. 

“Based on visiting team returned tickets, tickets for select games may become available at a later date on a game by game basis,” Florida Atlantic’s official ticket office account posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. 

As a result of this, some FAU students gave up on being able to obtain season tickets this year.

“I’m not optimistic that I’m going to get season tickets this year,” said Michael Fontanella, 19-year-old freshman and business management major at FAU prior to the start of the season in mid-November. “It’s just such a small gym and so many people want to go.” 

Fontanella added that recently he received an email from the university regarding visiting team returns, but got no answer from the ticket office when he called them. 

“I’m sure they’re expecting a very high demand for these games with the capacity and the amount of people that want to go, but I do think they should be more available, especially at 3 o’clock on a work day,” said Fontanella. 

With the demand outweighing the supply by a drastic margin, many are wondering when, or if, Florida Atlantic will make expansions to their arena to allow more fans to attend games. 

White said that expansion plans such as adding a practice facility and aesthetic improvements are in the works, but that long-term expansion in terms of capacity is still a while off. 

“We’d much rather be too small than too big,” said White. “I’d say around the country there’s a whole lot more basketball programs that I think they would even agree have gotten too big, then their [games] are rarely, if ever, filled.”

Tickets to games are not the only item that saw a massive increase in sales over the past year. According to data provided to MediaLab@FAU by White, royalties on Florida Atlantic gear rose by 38% during and after last season’s NCAA tournament. 

Fontanella said that he is strongly considering buying some Florida Atlantic merchandise after last season’s success.

“I see a lot of people rocking their Final Four shirts, those are cool,” said Fontanella. “It’s a huge selling point for the team to put that on the shirt. Only four teams can do that.”

The data also indicated that Adidas, one of Florida Atlantic’s apparel partners, sales rose 300%, contributing to massive growth for merchandise sales in 2023.

White sees this exponential growth as monumental for the university. 

“I think the prevalence of our brand, nationally and locally, is infinitely better than it was prior to the [Final Four],” said White.

FAU Men's Basketball Coach Dusty May on the sidelines at a game in November. (Photo by JC Ridley)

This story was produced by MediaLab@FAU, a project of Florida Atlantic University's School of Communication and Multimedia Studies. If you would like to republish this article, please credit the writer and MediaLab@FAU. The reporter can be reached at All photos courtesy of photographer JC Ridley.

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