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South Carolina Struggling To Sell
Lower-Priced Season Tickets
Univ. of South Carolina football season-ticket sales do not "paint a pretty picture," as there are "entire sections in the upper deck at Williams-Brice Stadium that are nearly vacant," according to Joseph Person of the Columbia STATE. South Carolina season-ticket sales are down 9% from last year and have dropped about 20% since 08. But "flagging ticket sales is not a problem unique" to the Gamecocks, and some observers have "questioned whether the SEC's 2-year-old TV deal, which assures every game is televised, has prompted fans to save money by staying home and watching from their couch." The Univ. of Georgia "recently lowered its cost for a first-time season ticker buyer to $1,550 -- down from $10,651 two years ago and $4,205 in 2009 -- after more than 2,000 Bulldog fans chose not to renew their tickets." The Univ. of Tennessee "invited fans into Neyland Stadium last month to check out more than 1,000 seats available." Meanwhile, Clemson Univ. has seen ticket sales drop 13% since '08, when the school "sold out its season tickets amid excitement about a team ranked in the top 10 in the preseason polls." South Carolina in response to the decreased demand has "increased its advertising across the state and in Charlotte, while starting a partnership" with the Single-A South Atlantic League Greenville Drive. South Carolina AD Eric Hyman in '08 "introduced the controversial YES program that requires fans to pay a separate fee -- in addition to their Gamecock Club donation and cost of the ticket -- for the right to buy their seat." Though the school's season-ticket base has "dipped significantly, the YES program has had the desired effect of moving out longtime ticket-holders who were low-level donors from the premium seats and replacing them with fans willing to shell out the extra bucks for a seat in the lower deck between the 40-yard lines." The school's Gamecock Club "added 500 members this spring," and "despite selling fewer tickets, net revenues are up -- thanks to the seat fees." South Carolina athletics Dir of Marketing Eric Nichols: "The less-expensive seats are the ones that are available. The more expensive seats are pretty much all gobbled up" (Columbia STATE, 7/18).