Calls have been steady but sales are lagging for a trip to the Gator Bowl to see Nebraska take on Georgia in a postseason game for the second straight year.
Dave Busskohl, president of Allied Tour and Travel in Norfolk, said on a strong day, his company can sell up to half a charter plane after a bowl announcement. The plane has 143 seats.
“We're quite a bit less than that right now,” he said Monday afternoon. “Give them another day or two. We're hopeful it would pick up.''
Allied is offering a two-night, three-day stay that includes a non-stop flight to Jacksonville, Fla., all ground transfers, a ticket to the game and a pregame tailgate for $1,695. It's $850 for those looking for an air package only.
Busskohl said sales would probably have been stronger if Nebraska had been heading to Tempe, Ariz. Instead they'll play Jan. 1 at 11 a.m. in Jacksonville, which Busskohl said has friendly people, great locations and perhaps most important of all, warm weather.
The loss to Iowa may have dampened fans' enthusiasm, Busskohl said, as well as playing Georgia for the second straight year. NU lost 45-31 to the Bulldogs in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando, Fla., last season.
“I think there are a lot of Husker fans out there who are going to end up going to the game,” he said. “I'm trying to be positive.”
AAA Nebraska also had been preparing last week for a Tempe bowl game.
“Jacksonville is a wonderful destination,” AAA's Rose White said. “It should be very accommodating to Nebraska fans.”
NU fans can purchase a three-day, two-night package that includes airfare, game ticket and a pregame tailgate party through AAA, which is working with Allied Tour on the packages, said White. She said the price of the package is $1,695 per person.
Hotel availability looks good in the Jacksonville area, she said, with plenty of flights also available. Round-trip airfares out of Omaha for Dec. 29 through Jan. 2 can be purchased for $725, White said, and round-trip fares out of Lincoln for the same dates were available Monday morning for $829.
AAA is also offering a chartered bus trip package to Jacksonville from Dec. 28 to Jan. 4 for $1,539 per person.
Nebraska's allotment of Gator Bowl tickets for the contest at EverBank Field became available for sale beginning at 8 a.m. Monday. They can be purchased online at Huskers.com, or by calling 1-800-8-BIGRED. The game is set for 11 a.m. and it will be televised on ESPN2.
The total Nebraska ticket allotment was 12,750, Keith Mann, assistant athletic director for media relations, said Monday. Tickets are priced at $60, $80 and $125.
Calls to the NU ticket office were steady Monday morning, Mann said.
The Nebraska Alumni Association is offering packages starting at $899 that include hotel rooms, pregame tailgate party, game tickets, a New Year's Eve party and transportation to and from the game, said Diane Mendenhall, executive director of the alumni association. Fans are on their own as far as getting to and from Jacksonville.
The alumni association had 700 people at its last Gator Bowl Husker Huddle, which is a pregame pep rally, five years ago. Those 700 included travelers as well as alumni and fans who didn’t travel with the association but purchased Husker Huddle tickets. The alumni association had about 140 travelers, or people who bought packages, five years ago.
She also said NU has strong alumni support in the area, with chapters in Florida and Georgia.
“We put up our bowl package on our site at 8:15 last night,'' Mendenhall said. Bowl announcements were made at 8 p.m. Sunday. “And we had people buying packages by 8:40 p.m.”