Chess said he did not work closely with Homecoming last year, but he estimates that about 1,000 tickets were sold for Wale and Ace Hood’s performance in Carmichael Arena last year. In 2012, J. Cole sold out his show in Carmichael, selling about 3,000 tickets.
But Chess said even with J. Cole’s sold out show, CUAB still had about $100,000 in expenses after accounting for the ticket revenues.
This is why the board decided to play it safe this year, spending a combined $50,000 on the two acts.
“Even in the years that we’re selling out, it was at a super high expense to students,” Chess said. “If we’re only reaching 3,000 students, then it’s difficult to hit those other 25,000 students who paid the fee when we spend a third of the budget on one event.”
Chess said hosting the concerts on weekdays, rather than on the same day as the Homecoming game, may have played a factor in the low ticket sales.
“Maybe students were hesitant to go out on a Tuesday night to a show,” he said.
To encourage students to buy tickets, Chess said CUAB hosted a scavenger hunt for tickets to the shows on Twitter and sat in the Pit to sell tickets.
CUAB board member and sophomore Jesus Barreto said students seem to like the two-concert system.
“Overall, students seem really positive and excited for both Gloriana and Earl,” he said. “Some students I’ve talked to are actually planning on attending both events.”
But some students say they won’t buy tickets because they just don’t know who these performers are.
Senior Elizabeth Geyer said she didn’t know the concerts were happening this week and that even if she did, she wouldn’t want to go on a school night anyway.
“I have several large assignments due this week, and I don’t know who either of the performers are,” she said.
Regardless, Chess still thinks those who do attend will have a great Homecoming experience.
“There will be a lot of students there, and the students who will be there will have a really wonderful experience,” he said.