SBD/Issue 48/Collegiate Sports

Penn State Football Seat Assignments To Be Based On Donations

Under PSU's New Season-Ticket Policy, Fans
Will Get Better Seats With Larger Donations
Penn State Univ. (PSU) "will implement a new season-ticket policy" at Beaver Stadium that is "scheduled to debut for the 2011 football season," according to Tricia Lafferty of the Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW. Under the new system, a "larger donation to the Nittany Lion Club -- which is composed of Penn State alumni and supporters of intercollegiate athletics -- will result in a better seat," and those who make the "minimum donation of $100 may or may not be forced to relocate." PSU Associate AD for Business Relations & Communications Greg Myford: "Right now, someone's donation level determines the number of season tickets they want to buy and the type of parking spaces they get. What the plan will do is introduce a third ingredient, and that's where you want to sit in the stadium." Currently, all season-ticket holders are "members of the Nittany Lion Club," and they are "required to donate at least $100 annually, renew their season tickets and pay the $55 per ticket each game in order to be guaranteed a seat." Under the new plan, no season-ticket holders "will be stripped of the privilege to buy tickets," but they "may be forced to change seats starting in 2011." Myford "did not release specific figures regarding donations," but it is "evident that bigger donors will be sitting in better seats" (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 11/18). In Pennsylvania, David Jones reported the "best seats between the 40 yard lines" will cost about $600 annually per seat, while "each seat between the goal lines and the 40s" will cost $300-400 annually per seat. Seats "wrapped around the end zones who are not in student or club seating" will cost about $100 annually (Harrisburg PATRIOT-NEWS, 11/17). Myford: "This will allow us to generate additional revenues in support of all 29 varsity sports. Secondarily, there is an element of fairness we're able to inject into the ticket allocation system. We're able to properly align the giving level with where someone wants to sit." PSU football coach Joe Paterno yesterday said he thinks the school is "doing the best it can." Paterno: "They ask me what I thought. I said you guys have got the responsibility for 29 sports. It's a lot different than when I was the athletic director [from '80-82]. ... How much are we charging compared to other people? I think we're probably at the bottom of the list" (CENTRE DAILY TIMES, 11/18).

LIKELY TO DRAW COMPLAINTS: In Philadelphia, Joe Juliano writes the new system is "certain to generate complaints," as "swaths of empty seats could be found this season at Penn State's nonconference games." Myford indicated that 97-98% of ticket holders "renew annually, creating little opportunity to improve one's seat location." But Myford said that the new plan is "different from a personal seat license system because no long-term commitment is required," and ticket holders "may change their donation and seat, or decide to cancel, on an annual basis" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 11/18). In Pittsburgh, Ron Cook writes under the header, "Penn State Making A Good Business Decision." For fans who complain about the new plan, there is a "really easy way to deal with this particular price increase: Don't buy the tickets." Cook: "The point is, any sports entity has a right to charge what it thinks it can get for its product" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 11/18).

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