Football ticket prices going up

BY ANNA CLARK
Daily Staff Reporter
Published March 16, 2001

By Prices of season football tickets will be raised significantly this fall for both students and the public as part of the Athletic Department"s long-term plan to rebuild financial stability.

In addition, students may have to show their M-Cards to gain access to Michigan Stadium as early as the following season, Athletic Director Bill Martin said yesterday.

For students, ticket prices will rise from $13.50 to $17.50 per game.

Including a new $5 service fee, student tickets for all six home games this year will cost $110, compared to $85 last year. This is the first student ticket increase since the 1996 season.

Martin announced the price hike and highlighted other parts of the plan including seating restructuring at yesterday"s meeting of the University Board of Regents. Yesterday evening, Martin also sent an e-mail to University students highlighting the changes.

Additionally, Martin said, the University soon plans to take measures to make sure student tickets are not being sold for profit.

"When I was a student I had to show my ID. That is coming again. Trust me," Martin said. "It just turns me sideways when I turn on eBay and see all these tickets for sale, and you look at the section number and you know those are student seats.

"We are not here to finance your social life through Michigan football tickets."

Martin said certain financial challenges forced the Athletic Department to increase ticket prices and look into other ways to generate revenue. He noted that the athletic program has grown significantly, while "costs to remain competitive are growing."

He added that revenues from the football, ice hockey and men"s basketball programs support all 25 varsity sports.

"The new ticket pricing plan will bring in $5 million in additional revenue," Martin said, comparing it to the $2.2 million the University received from the recently signed Nike contract.

Martin called for "balancing financial reality with fairness" by creating a tiered seating model for the public. Michigan Stadium will be divided into four sections, each with different prices: Victors, between the 22-yard lines Blue, from the goal lines to the 22-yard lines Maize, in the end zones and students, from sections 25 to 32 in the northwest corner.

Public season ticket prices will be $47, $43 and $39 for Victors, Blue and Maize seats respectively.

"This is ridiculous," said RC sophomore Chrissy Szalkowski. "You"d think the Athletic Department could find other ways to solve their money problems without creating money problems for us too."

Rachel Oram, an RC sophomore, said the increase is more than she expected.

"I heard they were going to raise ticket prices earlier, but I thought it would be something like going from $84 to $90," she said. "But $4 a ticket? Come on."

But Martin said that even with the increase, the University still has better ticket prices than Ohio State and Penn State.

"Real ticket prices from other schools are actually much higher because of donation incentives," Martin said.

He added that the price hike won"t solve the financial problems, citing the need for renovation and construction of facilities and endowment.

He said other options, such as stadium advertising, skybox seating and voluntary seat donation incentives will be explored and major fundraising initiatives will be launched.

"But our main goal is to provide for the athletic development and academic support of the 700-plus student-athletes," Martin said.

Daily Sports Writer Steve Jackson contributed to this report.