BUFFS

3 takeaways from ESPN’s big story on Deion Sanders first 100 days at CU

Mar 23, 2023, 3:54 PM

The Deion Sanders era is off to a roaring start and with the Colorado Buffaloes beginning spring practice, Coach Prime is getting closer to his true debut in black and gold.

Already on the job 100 days, one of Sanders first big moments will come next month when the Buffs will play their annual spring game, which will be televised by ESPN. Ahead of the exhibition, the four-letter network’s website wrote an in-depth story on Sanders first few months with the gig and what’s gone on behind the scenes.

While none of the new details are that eye-opening for those following CU closely, there are some nuggets worth noting.

Popularity

That spring game could sell out, the story shares that 39,000 tickets have been sold. This is crazy considering the Buffs went 1-11 last year and are 69-134 since 2006.

About 97% of season-ticket holders have renewed, shattering the mark for best in school history. The Buffaloes expect to sell out of season tickets in March.

The huge increase now is more than in 2017, when Mike MacIntyre led The Rise and a resurgent Buffs team back to the postseason for the first time in forever. So hiring Sanders is having a bigger positive impact on CU’s bottom line than actually winning the Pac-12 South.

The story also notes that during the first two months of 2023, Colorado had the second-most sales among colleges on the Fanatics platform, behind only Georgia. In December they reported sales for Buffs gear were up 505% from the same month in 2021.

Meanwhile where Prime has really popped is on social media. Combining their reach between all platforms the football program had 225,000 followers, and now it’s above 1 million.

“I’m a need-to-be-needed type person,” Sanders said in the story to ESPN. “If you show me a need, then I’m there, but if there’s no need, I don’t really have a place. That’s what I do, that’s what I’ve done, I’ve always been that type of guy. There’s a tremendous need [at Colorado], and I don’t just think it’s all about football. It far surpasses football on the field.”

Celebrities

Buffs legend Darian Hagan is quoted a bunch in the story and something the current CU football staffer said is that when he saw Ice Cube wearing a Colorado hat he knew his team made it. The former star quarterback recently saw rap legends Lil Wayne and Uncle Luke visit Boulder.

Coach Prime’s celebrity friends seem to never end and he can dial up football stars like Terrell Owens or Tom Brady to help his athletes or just come out in black and gold.

But Wayne, Luke, Owens and even Brady may struggle to get a good spot to see the action come this fall. The story says CU is discussing plans on how to make suites or sideline space available for those big names and the easy solution of luxury boxes will not suffice, since they’re sold out.

Respect

The piece published by ESPN references a story that shows the type of respect Prime gets from other important people in the world.

At the NFL Honors ceremony during Super Bowl week, Sanders presented the AP Coach of the Year award to the New York Giants’ Brian Daboll while wearing a black suit and a gold pocket square, CU colors. As Sanders exited the stage, Daboll told him about a player he should consider at Colorado. Sanders immediately got Daboll on the phone with his chief of recruiting.

“That doesn’t just mean that he respects me, and he would love for this kid to play for me,” Sanders said. “You know how much noise we’ve got to be making right now, for that gentleman, as we’re walking off the stage, saying, ‘I’ve got a dawg for you.’

“I said, ‘I ain’t hard to find, Coach.'”

Sanders said it’s not supposed to be easy as it has been and this is just the beginning.

Whether the Prime era works or doesn’t in Boulder is up to your definition of success. But some would argue that Sanders has already been a success for the Buffaloes before Colorado has even played a game under the new coach.

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