SBD/March 1, 2013/Colleges

South Carolina Ups Football Season-Ticket Prices To Help Fund New Facilities

South Carolina season-tix sales last year reached 49,000 for the first time since '09
Univ. of South Carolina AD Ray Tanner said that the school is raising football season-ticket prices by $45 this season to help "pay for new facilities," according to Andrew Shain of the Columbia STATE. Tanner said he "expects some fan backlash" from the price increase, the first since '08. But at $365, South Carolina's season-ticket prices still rank "in the middle" of the SEC. The new prices will add more than $2M per year to the school's "athletic coffers." The additional money will "help pay part of the cost" of more than $50M in new facilities, including "new football practice facilities and a plaza" around Williams-Brice Stadium. Tanner: "It's an investment back into our student-athletes, and (giving) them the projects and resources to compete at the highest level." Shain notes South Carolina fans have "not come back to Williams-Brice Stadium in the same numbers since the Gamecocks started charging an annual fee of up to $395 per seat." Season-ticket sales in '12 surpassed 49,000 for the first time since the school "started charging the seat fee" in '09. But sales "remain below the 59,600 sold in the final year before the fee was instituted" (Columbia STATE, 3/1).

BLACKSBURG SINGING IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT: In Virginia, David Teel noted Virginia Tech's run of 11 straight years of hosting at least one Thursday night game will end this season "at athletic director Jim Weaver's request to the ACC and ESPN." Weaver said, "Thursday nights have been great for us. But it just wasn't fair to have a game every year where so many fans couldn't come and had to sell their tickets." Teel noted the move "was not a case of ESPN or the ACC bypassing Tech after its 7-6 season last year." Weaver: "It was simply a request on behalf of our fans, something I thought we needed to do to say 'thank you' to them for being so good to us on Thursday nights over the years." He added that the "logistical challenges of clearing campus early for weekday home games played no role in the decision." The request was for '13 "only." Weaver: "I think we'll have a home Thursday night game next year" (DAILYPRESS.com, 2/26). Weaver in making the decision "didn't solicit input from athletic department officials or survey firms." He said that he "received only a handful of letters or emails from fans complaining about the number of non-Saturday games" (ROANOKE.com, 2/26).
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