LAFAYETTE – In Billy Napier’s first year as head coach for the Ragin’ Cajuns, he’s directed his team to the program’s first-ever Sunbelt Western Division championship, along with a bowl birth.
Those in the athletic department hope it will lead to rejuvenated excitement among the fan base.
The Cure Bowl is the first bowl game that the Cajuns have been invited to outside the state of Louisiana. But that doesn’t seem to bother some of the Cajun faithful.
“We’ve been chipping away at selling our allotment of tickets,” says Niko Yantko, the UL Deputy Athletic Director/External Operations, “So we’re exceeding what we expected originally. So another great opportunity for us to look at our fan base and say, ‘Thank you.'”
UL officials believe the first year success Napier will lead to better attendance in future years, after averaging a little over 18,500 people at home this season. This compared to the nearly 26,000 average attendance back in 2013, for example.
“Post-season eligible absolutely makes a difference as we continue to look forward to the 2019 season,” says Yantko, “So we’re definitely making some strong strides.”
Fans can help further those strides by purchasing tickets for the game, which one can choose to attend or simply ask that it be donated to underprivileged folks in the Orlando area.
Explains Yantko, “Buy a ticket or two because it goes back to help on cancer research, the fight against cancer, goes back to support the Cajuns.”
And with every ticket sold, the Cajuns will look more and more attractive when bowls are sending out invitations, especially since ESPN will be adding two more bowls that the Cajuns will have a chance to compete in come 2020.
“In future years, the more tickets that we sell, this is definitely going to impact our ability to get better bowl placement,” says Yantko.
Which will only help with UL’s continued growth throughout the state of Louisiana.
“We wanna make folks know that we are the university for Louisiana,” adds Yantko, “This is a great opportunity for us to make great strides and really owning that Ragin’ Cajun brand across the state.”
Though the game is this Saturday, it’s not too late to buy tickets via the Ragin’ Cajun Athletic Foundation (337.851.2906). If you choose to donate the ticket, it’s a 100% tax deduction, and again, that ticket helps with breast cancer awareness and research causes.