Season Tickets: An Anonymous Eagle Investigative Report

Contrary to visual evidence, Jim Calhoun is allowed to keep his seat at UConn games. Unless the NCAA says he can't be in the building, of course.

When Marquette's athletic department put the men's basketball season ticket holders through reseating back in June, the process made me wonder: Do any of our Big East brethren go through a similar process?  Only one way to find out: INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM!

Step 1: Checking Everyone's Websites

This was largely unsuccessful.  If other Big East schools are going through a reseating process of any kind, they're apparently keeping it between themselves and their season ticket holders or keeping it off their websites on a permanent basis.  The lone exception is Seton Hall.  Like Marquette, they reseat every other year.  Unlike Marquette, they have a policy to allow ticket holders to keep their exact same seats going forward.  It's called the Hallowed Hall program, and as long as you donate more than $1000 per seat per year, you are given right of first refusal on your seats before every reseating.  Considering SHU only uses "donations per seat" as the organizing factor for what order reseating proceeds and that $1000 is the third highest category, that's not a bad deal.  Then again, I'm curious how many people are donating $5000 per seat per year for the right to pick Seton Hall season tickets first.

Step 2: Asking Politely

So, with almost zero information in hand, I turned to people who would know better than I would: SBN Bloggers.  First up: South Florida and Ken DeCelles from Voodoo Five.  Ken doesn't have any reseating policy information, but it seems that's because USF doesn't reseat.  I'll let Ken explain:

With USF, you are grandfathered in to your yearly donation when you purchase season tickets. There's a reason most of the donor seats are empty in the lower bowl. A lot of people bought those seats back in the early 90's, but they have such great seats and only put in $500 a year they can't give them up and just don't show. If you move your seats, you move to that donation level. The people next to them who bought seats recently would have to pay a $2500 yearly donation a year for basically the same seats. Now the yearly donation also allows you to buy better football tickets, so that's why someone is shelling out $2500 on USF basketball.

Ken does point out that the Sun Dome is undergoing a facelift and things may change after that.  That brings us to Villanova and Chris Lane from The Nova Blog.  Villanova doesn't reseat because they have a waiting list for season tickets at the Pavilion:

You need to make a $500 donation PER TICKET to even stay on the waiting list (which is insanely long at this point). Then, once you by the grace of God get assigned a ticket (whatever's available), it's a continued $500 donation per ticket to keep your seat.

When new seats become available, you are notified according to how long you have been a season-ticket holder. You'll have the option to move up at the cost of that new seat.

No word on what the cost of that new seat is, as Nova doesn't even bother publishing it on their website.  I imagine it would be comparable to Marquette's pricing, given the $270 pricing on lower bowl tickets for last year's 8 game Wells Fargo Center only package.  Lastly, we move to Pitt and Anson Whaley from Cardiac Hill:

In order to be guaranteed the opportunity to buy tickets, you need to fork over an annual donation of $300. That will at least get you in the door, but it may not get you great seats. Your seats will depend on a variety of other factors in the priority point system. In addition, in order to get better seats (lower-level or suite-level), you need to meet a point-level. This is the thing that has personally turned me off. Because I haven't been a donor for many years (only three coming up), I rank near the bottom in points, so I can't even get better seats if I want to pay more for them.

You can also get in the door with a minimum $100 donation - this is what I did last year. After all of the $300-and up donors buy their tickets, anyone donating at least $100 can sneak in and buy tickets. These are, as you can imagine, the worst seats available. In a 12,500 arena, it's not as if you can't see, but we were literally in the last row all the way up in the corner behind one of the baskets.

At any rate, I'm told the longer you have tickets, the better seats you'll get. A friend does the $100 thing every year and has for several years now and after starting out with similar seats as I had, he's now close to the middle of the court - still in the uppers, but better seats.

A map showing the estimated priority points needed for each section in the Petersen Events Center can be found here.  I'm guessing the disclaimer on estimates is there because Pitt season ticket holders can go where ever they like in the building, just like Marquette ticket holders can.

That brings us to the end of any reseating information I was able to easily track down.  I could have given every athletic department a phone call, but I'm already on UWM's mailing list from buying tickets to the Marquette game in US Cellular Arena and would prefer not to get ticket solicitations from 15 more schools.

After the jump: Random odd ticket and attendance information I discovered while researching!  And don't forget to help determine Tim Higgins' new nickname!

If you want to sit on the sidelines in the lower deck of a Big East arena for a full season, you'd generally better be ready to shell out between $420 (Syracuse) and $570 (Marquette and Notre Dame). Notable exceptions:

  • DePaul at $300, which is still overcharging for that dump.  That's not even getting into what a terrible facility the Allstate Arena is.
  • Louisville at TWO THOUSAND, FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS A SEAT.  I am not making a word of that up.

Speaking of Syracuse, they have an interesting policy.  Every ticket in the lower deck and the temporary bleachers out on the football field costs $420, but they have a built in mandatory donation ranging from $675 to $205.  While this seems similar to what Marquette does, Syracuse openly advertises the price as the combined total, as seen in the earlier link.

Pitt has a Student Loyalty Program to determine who gets those high quality courtside seats in The Zoo.  Short version: You apply for tickets on a per game basis.  Tickets are issued based on Loyalty Points.  If you claim the ticket, you get 2 points for using it and lose 1 point if you don't.  I think this is the greatest thing ever.  I'd love to see Marquette implement something like this, especially if it means we can start avoiding things like this, or this, or this, or this, or this, or this, or this.

The following is presented without comment from the Notre Dame Athletics website:

If an individual, faculty/staff member, alumnus, company or other entity is found have sold or offered Notre Dame athletic tickets above face value, offered or sold tickets as part of a travel package, lodging or rental agreement or accomodations purchase, or when tickets have been sold via a ticket broker/agency who in turn resells the tickets for an amount greater than face value, they will be denied ticket privileges for a minimum period of 5 years. In addition, the individual will not receive the same seat location if/when the privilege is reinstated.

Of the 13 Big East teams that don't regularly split games between multiple arenas, 5 of them averaged less than the 64.5% of capacity that Syracuse parlays into the highest average attendance in the country for the 2010-11 season.  Those teams are South Florida (40.6%), DePaul (43.9%), Providence (53.7%), Cincinnati (55.7%), and Georgetown (62.5%).  Marquette propelled themselves to the 11th best average in the country with 82% of capacity, and Louisville justifies those $2500 tickets with 98.8% average capacity for their first season in the (snicker) KFC Yum! Center.

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