Mirroring the upward trend in the Michigan football team’s performance, the price of student tickets is on the rise for the second straight year.
Wolverine fans wanting to spend their Saturdays at the Big House this fall will have to shell out a heftier sum. Students will have to pay $240 — plus processing fees — for season tickets, which is about a 21-percent increase, or $43 greater than, the 2010 season ticket price.
University Athletic Department spokesman Dave Ablauf wrote in an e-mail interview that the price increase was necessary because the season ticket price last year was below market value.
“We benchmarked our season ticket prices against all of our peers and found that we had fallen significantly below competitive market prices, both in student season tickets and general season tickets,” Ablauf wrote. “We made a modest increase to the season ticket per game.”
The price bump is also due to an increase in the number of home games from seven to eight, including the first-ever night game against Notre Dame on Sept. 10 and the home game against Ohio State on Nov. 26, Ablauf wrote.
Though some students may be deterred from buying the tickets, the student section as a whole will probably sell out, he wrote. The deadline for students to buy season tickets is this Friday at 5 p.m.
Tickets for non-students are also pricier than last year at $480 for the eight home games. Last year’s package for seven games had a price tag of $375. Despite the price increase, Ablauf estimated that in the upcoming season there will be the same number of season ticket holders from last year.
“We have a robust waiting list in the event that a small portion of season ticket holders decline their renewal,” Ablauf wrote.
The ticket cost increases of this and last year came after a slight reduction in student and other season ticket prices decreased due to economic reasons. Students paid $200 for the home game package in 2009, while season ticket holders paid $400.
The extra revenue raised by the price increase will be used to continue renovations at the Big House, according to Ablauf.
“Some of the funds will be used for the new scoreboards that we are installing this season,” Ablauf wrote. “The new high-definition boards will enhance the game day experience for the fans. It will also be used to cover the operating expenses of the department for fiscal 2011-12.”
Additionally, this year there are a limited number of season tickets available for non-students, Ablauf wrote. Previously, seats were blocked off for construction, so not all seats were available during every game. But now that construction is complete, all seats can be used, allowing for more season ticket packages to be sold.
LSA freshman Kevin Zhang said he didn’t notice the price bump. He said despite the cost increase, he thinks many students feel that the increase is acceptable because this year will be the inaugural season for Football head coach Brady Hoke.
“It’s reasonable because there are more games that are valuable,” Zhang said.
LSA freshman Brian Burchman said he didn’t find the increase to be substantial either.
“I was like, ‘I guess it went up a tiny bit from last year,’ but it wasn’t big enough that I was concerned about it because that type of price increase compared to how much I’m paying for school, relatively speaking, is nothing,” Burchman said.
But LSA sophomore Sheila Waslawski said she noticed the increase right away and was not happy about it.
“I thought it was unnecessary seeing as our football tickets are way more expensive than other schools already,” Waslawski said. “I am still buying them but I did debate it more.”
University of Wisconsin–Madison students paid $154 to watch the Badgers in seven home games in 2010, and OSU students paid $160 for their season tickets last year.
Zhang also said he thinks, like in years past, some students will buy the season pack to sell their tickets to the pricier games, such as the night game and the Ohio State game, to make money.
“I know people who aren’t actually purchasing tickets, and they actually have friends that just buy (the tickets) for them, and they’re just going to sell the tickets and make money,” Zhang said.