Jan. 6, 2017 LSU vs Georgia gymnastics

LSU senior gymnast Ashleigh Gnat celebrates a solid routine during the Tigers 197.825-193.600 victory over the Georgia Bulldogs on Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

LSU gymnastics is continuing its climb in popularity among the Tiger faithful, generating a huge increase in season ticket purchases.

Sales have seen a significant rise in the past three seasons, said Eric Hummel, LSU’s assistant manager of ticket operations.

“Coming off a Super Six [Team Finals] appearance in 2014, NCAA appearance in 2015 and National Runner-Up [title] in 2016, we have started the next season ticket campaign in March/April of that year to continually drive off the team’s success that season,” Hummel said.

The LSU Athletics marketing department ramped up its gymnastics promotion efforts through billboards, direct mail-outs and posters. Gymnastics 101, an exhibition match held in December, helped sell more season tickets as well, Hummel said.

The second-ranked Tigers have a 268-55-3 record in the PMAC as of Jan. 18, going undefeated at home for the past three seasons with an average attendance of 9,906 at each meet during the 2016 season.

“When you walk into the arena and there’s hundreds of LSU fans, it’s huge,” LSU coach D-D Breaux said.

In 2016, LSU broke the home attendance record for the fourth year in a row with 13,296 fans in the PMAC. All of the top 10 most attended meets have come in the past four years, with three of the top five in the 2016 season.

Despite the large number of fans in attendance, LSU gymnasts said they don’t let that affect their play during meets.

“Some people may say you get home scored, but I think that this team doesn’t really focus on the scores so much,” junior all-arounder Myia Hambrick said.

Coaching is much easier in an environment where the team is confident and comfortable and is handling their jobs, LSU assistant coach Jay Clark said.

“What’s impressive to me is just the mindset that this team has and the approach that they’ve taken so far,” Clark said. “They’re really unflappable. Nothing really seems to get in their heads or change their approach at all, and that’s a mark of a mature team.”

The Tigers opened the season with a 197.825-193.600 win against Georgia with 7,602 fans in the PMAC. The attendance for Friday’s upcoming meet against Texas Woman’s University is expected to be higher, with better weather and students back on campus.

The fans in the PMAC create an environment in which the team can thrive and be confident.

“You can’t even imagine what it means to the team and their energy,” Breaux said. “If you’re passionate about something and other people are passionate with you, all of a sudden that passion is growing legs and walking around the area, so it’s a good thing.”

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