Prices rising slightly next year for UF football season tickets


Fans cheer during the first half of the University of Florida game against Florida State University at Florida Field in Gainesville. The season ticket price is rising slightly.

Lauren Joos/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at 1:29 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at 1:29 p.m.

Despite a disappointing 6-6 season in which a 137-game sellout streak was snapped, University of Florida football season tickets are rising slightly in price for next season.

The University Athletic Association board voted Wednesday to approve a $3-per-game, or $21 total, increase for a home season ticket. Athletics director Jeremy Foley said the increase is needed to pay for rising costs and that he didn't believe the change would affect sales.

"I do not think a $3 ticket-price increase will be the difference between someone coming or not coming," he said.

He said the price hike was made in conjunction with a move by Gator Boosters, the athletic association's fundraising arm, to delay a planned increase in the contribution needed to obtain season tickets. An increase of $25 to $300 per seat for the required contribution was scheduled for next season but is being delayed at least a year because of the economy, he said.

The season-ticket increase will bring in less money than that contribution change would have, about $1 million as compared with $3 million. Foley said the money is needed for rising costs, including higher tuition rates, which increase scholarship costs, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association's approval of a new annual $2,000 stipend for full-scholarship athletes.

"There is a need for some increased revenue," he said. "We have some increased costs that we really can't control."

He said the new season ticket price of $280 compares favorably to prices at other Southeastern Conference schools, ranging this season from $240 at the University of Georgia to $385 at the University of Alabama. UF's increase follows a season in which the Gators snapped a home sellout streak in its first game and failed to sell out two other games.

Senior associate athletics director Mike Hill said the lack of sellouts was largely due to opposing teams returning unsold tickets. While small numbers of tickets had in past years been returned a few weeks before games, he said, opposing schools returned large numbers this season in the week before games.

"The dynamic of tickets for opposing teams has changed because of the economy," he said.

One board member questioned the timing of the season-ticket increase, given the decision by Gator Boosters to delay its increase due to the economy. Foley said boosters had already been notified that the contribution increase was happening, so now they'll be getting news that it is being delayed and instead there will be a smaller price hike.

"Obviously, there is a substantial savings for our fans. We'll communicate it in that way," he said.

Last season, the association increased prices for single-game general admission tickets and seats in the premium Touchdown Terrace and Champions Club sections. An increase in the required booster contribution had been made in part in 2010, with the remainder planned for 2012, until the delay was approved.

The association's increased costs include the NCAA's newly approved stipend. Full-scholarship athletes are now eligible for up to $2,000 annually to help cover incidental costs of a college education. UF has about 175 athletes who qualify for the stipend.

"Those are significant costs that obviously we will be expected to pay," he said.

Contact Nathan Crabbe at 338-3176 or nathan.crabbe@gvillesun.com. For more stories on the University of Florida, visit www.thecampussun.com.

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