SBD/February 27, 2013/Colleges

Texas A&M Increasing Football Season Tickets By $25; Raise To Help Pay For Coaching Staff

Price hikes will help Texas A&M pay coach Kevin Sumlin and his coaching staff
Texas A&M Univ. is "increasing season ticket prices by $25, which will net the athletic department just over $2 million," according to Robert Cessna of the Bryan-College Station EAGLE. A&M AD Eric Hyman said that "'a lot' of the increase for the price of season football tickets will go toward paying for the pending raises for head football coach Kevin Sumlin and his staff." He said, "We made the commitment to Kevin and to his staff. It's one of those sincere commitments that we want to be good." Hyman added, "We don't have a lot of financial maneuverability here in the athletic department right now. But hopefully, when the (SEC) television network comes on in a couple of years we'll have more flexibility." A&M lost about $12.41M "in revenue payouts for leaving the Big 12 Conference, which came on the heels of the A&M athletic department needing to pay back a $16 million loan that former A&M president Bob Gates gave former AD Bill Byrne." The SEC has "extended its brand by adding Missouri and A&M, and Hyman, who came to A&M in July after seven seasons as AD at South Carolina, is excited about the SEC launching its own network." He said, "It's a game-changer, it separates us" (Bryan-College Station EAGLE, 2/26). In San Antonio, Brent Zwerneman noted Sumlin "signed on with the Aggies a little more than a year ago for $2 million annually" under Byrne, and his new contract is "believed to be about $3.5 million annually following the Aggies' 11-2 first season in the SEC" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 2/26).

CUTTING BACK: Univ. of Hawaii AD Ben Jay said that the school "will not raise its football ticket prices this season and might lower some in an effort to win back disaffected followers." In Honolulu, Ferd Lewis notes the decision comes as Jay, "six weeks into the AD job, looks at ways to reverse a 26 percent drop in turnstile attendance since 2010." UH averaged "25,573 per game in 50,000-seat Aloha Stadium in 2012, the lowest turnstile figure since the 0-12 season of 1998." School officials have said that football ticket prices "dropped approximately $1.2 million from 2011" (HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER, 2/27).
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