SBD/Issue 56/Collegiate Sports

This Seat Taken? Univ. Of Memphis Hoops Starting PSL-Like Program

A PSL-Like Program Will Hit Univ. of Memphis
Season-Ticket Holders Beginning Next Season
Univ. of Memphis (UM) men's basketball season-ticket holders will receive information this week about the Tiger Scholarship Fund's (TSF) Per-Seat Donation Program, which will "require fans to make a minimum annual donation to keep their season-ticket location from one year to the next," according to a front-page piece by Jim Masilak of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL. The added revenue will help UM "keep up with rising scholarship costs as well as offset budget cuts that could affect its 18 varsity sports." The program, which is set to take effect with the 2009-10 season, will include 80% of the seats at the 18,119-seat FedExForum. Donation levels "will range from $25 for terrace-level seats in the second level to $3,000 for floor seats." UM AD R.C. Johnson: "The whole thing, unfortunately, is driven by fiscal (realities). This is a way to generate dollars." However, Johnson added, "I think people understand we have an ongoing financial problem. We have to be as creative as possible." The scholarship fund raised more than $6M in the last FY, but FedEx Exec VP & CFO and Tiger Athletics Advisory Board President Alan Graf Jr. said, "We need to get that to $10[M] in the next few years. This will help." UM Associate AD/Development Bill Lansden said that the program "could increase the number of TSF donors from 3,000 to 4,500." Masilak notes that is because UM will implement an "across-the-board limit of six season tickets per dollar account, down from the current limit of 14 for high-level donors." Fans currently with more than six tickets "can transfer surplus inventory on a one-time basis to friends, family members or other acquaintances." The program is similar to ones already in place at schools such as Kansas and Kentucky (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 12/4). 

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