Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Football Tickets for Sale

Today, Nebraska began accepting applications for the 6,500 new seats being added to Memorial Stadium. Contrary to the perception of most fans, this is not the first time new season tickets have been available for sale. Last season, Nebraska failed to sell out their season tickets before the season began, as I have heard of several people who bought season tickets either just before the season or as late as the Pitt game. And if you had seen the sea of tickets outside the stadium before every home game, you would have to agree that interest in the Huskers last season was lower than at any time since the Devaney era.

With the withering of demand and the addition of 6,500 seats, the sellout streak is probably in the most peril that it has been in the past 35 years. And I'll give Steve Pederson credit for coming up with a fair plan to sell these additional seats.

One factor that helps Nebraska is that there is a perception that there was a 20 year wait for season tickets. This legend is blatently false; I got my season tickets with no donation in 1992. Granted, most season tickets purchased since then have required a donation. Nevertheless, just promoting the availability of tickets is going to stimulate demand.

I like Pederson's plan to set aside at least 1,000 of the new seats for non-donors; not only does it open up seats for fans who aren't able to donate at this time, but it also gives the athletic department the flexibility to sell more seats without a donation if they can't find enough new donors to fill the new seats.

I also like the "dutch auction" on donations; if you want to promise to donate more, you'll stand a better chance of getting tickets. It worked well on the Google IPO. If a lot of people want to donate a lot of money, the athletic department will be a huge winner. If the new donor base isn't that large, it gives them an out to ensure that the sellout streak continues.

I was afraid of what was going to be proposed; I envisioned the possibility of required donations for all seats or non-donors being pushed to the upper reaches of the north stadium. My retired parents have held season tickets in the North Stadium for over 40 years, and I'd hate to see them forced out of the seats they had occupied for so long.

In the end, this is a plan that is fair to everyone.

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