The University of Minnesota has finalized their preferred seating plan for Gopher men's basketball and hockey that will begin in the 2012-13 sports season.
For the best seats, basketball fans will have to pay an additional $400, $250 or $100 besides the ticket cost; hockey fans will pay an extra $300, $200 or $100...
...The highest priced seat for basketball will cost $1,060 ($660 for the ticket plus a $400 donation for a preferred seat); the most expensive hockey seat will be $1,055 ($755 plus $300).
University officials expect that basketball, with a full-scale preferred seat program, will bring in another $1 million, and hockey an extra $500,000. Both have limited donation programs now...
...Those with the most Gophers points will have the first choice of seats. Points can be earned through loyalty (how long and how many season tickets), financial support (gifts to university programs) and affiliation (a letterwinner or 'U' graduate).
I understand in a tough economy that the athletic department needs to find all the revenue it can get, but this seems, well...I'll let long-time hockey season ticket holder Bruce Telander sum it up:
Telander has had his tickets since 1956 and is the head of the Balcony Club, whose 168 members help support the hockey program with donations.
"Right now is the wrong time to do this," he said. "A) you've got the [sluggish] economy and B) the product is down. The best word to describe it is apathy."
Exactly. Basketball support remains solid, but this isn't exactly a perennial Big Ten title contender people are now going to have shell out more money for. And hockey? "The product is down" would be an understatement. We're mired in the worst 4 year stretch for one coach in the program's history and that coach- and his ENTIRE staff!!!!!!- are coming back for year 5. Apathy? There were empty seats AND empty suites for the WCHA playoff games against UAA last year. A series the Gophers lost. And whether all the tickets were sold before the season or not, like football, there were plenty of empty seats for home games.
I know (hopefully soon-to-be former) AD Joel Maturi keeps harping on football and hockey being sold out, but when people stop using their tickets and they can't even find people willing to take them? How long before you're not selling out anymore? And now they're adding personal seat licenses? Just seems like a slap in the face to the faithful Gopher basketball and hockey fans who keep showing up and are waiting for their support to be rewarded. Instead they're forced to shell out more.
If we had an AD who focused more on getting his Big 3 REVENUE GENERATING SPORTS to be winners, and, you know, ACTUALLY GENERATE REVENUE, this would make more sense. But considering all 3 of them missed the NCAA postseason for the first time in decades? Just emphasizes how ridiculous this mantra of Maturi's is that all 25 sports should be treated the same even though only three of them pay the bills for everybody else.
15 major city universities got together a few months ago to discuss how to better sell college football in NFL towns. Instead of this seat license crap, maybe Joel Maturi could have gotten a few ideas from some like-minded institutions on better ways to generate revenue and ticket sales for your athletic department. Of course, Maturi and the U didn't bother to show up.
As part of E!SPN.com's look at D1 football programs in major cities, Adam Rittenberg looks at the Gophers in their Heart of the City series.
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