On the last day of classes before spring break, students received an e-mail from Athletic Director Bill Martin warning them that new policies involving football tickets may come into effect next fall.
The message is part of a campaign in which Martin has tried to give sufficient warning of a ticket price increase since he officially took over Michigan”s Athletic Department last summer.
Another e-mail, divulging the specifics of the new policies, will come later this month, likely sometime after the University Board of Regents meet on March 16.
With the Athletic Department projected deficit of $2 million, Michigan is looking for ways to make up the money.
“Bill has been quite open that we”re looking at all sorts of options to keep our revenue up,” said Athletic Department Ticket Manager Marty Bodnar.
Raising the ticket prices for students is on the list of possibilities for how to help erase the department”s deficit.
As far as other season ticket holders, a price increase is definite. New policies may also include tiered donations, where better seats require a higher fee to be able to purchase the tickets.
The department is even cutting corners with its methods for getting ticket applications to students.
“We basically felt that by sending an e-mail that (students) could go to the website and different sections on campus getting that information out there we can get (the application) in the hands of the students and in cost effective ways,” Bodnar said. “With the postage going up again, we”re trying to save money.”
Part of the department”s justification for the increase are the higher prices of tickets for Big Ten powerhouses such as Ohio State and Penn State.
Naturally with changes in pricing, there is the possibility of negative reaction from ticket holders.
But the Athletic Department is trying to take precautions by softening the blow.
“We”ve done a lot of focus groups,” Bodnar said. “It”s a matter of education. We”ve found the more they know about it, the more there”s acceptance of it.
“Fans appreciate knowing what”s going on and where we”re at,” he said.
Despite the Athletic Department”s efforts to educate ticket holders, some students say they are not yet certain why ticket prices may increase.
“If they”re already bringing in over 100,000 people a game, they can”t be losing that much money,” LSA sophomore Bill Johnson said. “I don”t know what their financial situation is, but it doesn”t seem that bad off that they need to raise prices especially for students.”
As an LSA senior, Ken Stroger said he is not as concerned, because he will not be purchasing tickets for next year. He is more accepting of the possibility for an increase.
“You can”t run a program if you don”t have any money,” he said.
“It”s not like they”re that unreasonably priced, even with the increase compared to other schools.”