After yesterday’s surprising announcement regarding the relatively low number of UK Football season tickets sold, it’s easy for some to make snap judgments as to why fans aren’t as enthusiastic as the coaches are about this season. For instance, many analysts, including our own Mrs. Tyler Thompson, point to the recent trend of fans choosing to watch the game from the comfort of their own home over the hassle (and cost) of actually attending the game. And as true as this may be for football, it’s proving to be just as accurate for basketball fans, especially for current students.
A few months ago, UK announced it would be increasing the price of basketball tickets for students from $5 per game to $10. The decision was not met without controversy: students didn’t want to pay more for tickets; non-student fans didn’t understand why these kids were so upset over a five-dollar difference. The university argued the increase would discourage students from buying tickets and then skipping the game, leaving empty seats; others worried the price increase would only encourage students to choose to watch the games from the comfort (?) of State Street.
Here at KSR, we have several writers who currently attend the University of Kentucky, myself included. We decided to ask our writers for their opinions on the subject. Here’s what they had to say:
“I’ve honestly always been surprised that tickets only cost $5. I mean, I’d personally pay 20 or 30 bucks for a ticket, let alone ten. I don’t see it as that big of a deal. Although I think a price jump ought to coincide with more/better seating.” —Jay Winkler
“I think $10 is still a great price if you think about all the talent you’re seeing. Paying $5, $10 or even as much as $20 to see players like Fox, Monk, Booker and Towns is a pretty good deal when you consider how much tickets would be to see them now in the NBA. I get why some students would be upset though — with how many lotteries and games there are, the price increase does add up.” —Savannah Patton
“The price jump doesn’t bother me. Maybe they could’ve compromised and kept tickets for exhibition games and similar games $5 and made conference play and big games like UofL $19. However, UK has always had issues with students buying the cheap tickets and not showing up, so maybe now that they have more money invested in the tickets they’ll actually show up.” — Haley Simpson
“Since I just graduated in May, I’m selfishly happy they waited to increase the prices until after I left. But honestly I’m surprised it took this long for the prices to go up. Students will complain but they’ll still pay to go anyway. Students would resell them for $50 and people bought them at those prices.” —Kindsey Bernhard
“Students obviously want the cheapest deal because most of us struggle to survive on something more sustainable than ramen noodles, but I know people who came to school here just for the basketball program. BBN is crazy — I don’t think $5 will deter students.” —Kelsey Mattingly
“Well until they do something about booing innocent kids for chicken biscuits, I’m not coming back.” — Trey Huntsman, the apparent jokester of the group.
Personally, an extra $5 per game doesn’t bother me, and it certainly wouldn’t stop me from buying tickets. However, I do think the timing is a little strange considering student attendance in the upper level has already been relatively low during the past few seasons, especially during exhibition games. As Haley said, I would definitely have supported the idea of keeping smaller games priced at $5 and increasing more “popular” games to $10. This system is already in place for non-students, so it seems like an easy decision to apply the same system for all fans.
Additionally, the lottery system is in need of a major revamp. With today’s technology, there is no reason to have students file into Memorial Coliseum for three hours on a weeknight to wait and buy tickets. I’ll admit it: I turned down tickets to a Kentucky basketball game because I am impatient. Once last season, I won the lottery and was eligible to purchase tickets to the next four home games. As a student (an avid UK fan) who had never been in the eRUPPtion Zone, I was obviously excited to go to these first four games.
However, when I got to Memorial to buy my tickets, I realized my number was drawn in the very last group. I would be sitting for nearly three hours, unable to leave, before I would be allowed to actually buy my tickets. With a paper to write, upcoming exams to study for, and no reliable Wi-Fi, I simply didn’t have the time to sit and wait for the tickets. This is something a price increase will not fix — some students may win the lottery but not actually purchase the tickets, which can prevent the student section from ever selling out the upper level. It’s 2017 people! Let’s make an app.
Most importantly, however, I’m just thankful they haven’t increased football ticket prices for students yet. Currently, students have the ability to buy a “voucher” to use for all of the home games, and it is available for purchase for just $35. Last season, the student section was rarely sold out at football games. Does this mean these tickets will be the next ones to increase in price? I sure hope not.
So, what do you think? Do you agree with our writers? Let us know in the comments.