Comparing costs: BYU rolls out new seat selection process, sells out season tickets rapidly for big revenues
, Brian Nicholson
Editor's note: This is Part Four in a four-part series on college football ticket sales and marketing in Utah. Also read Parts 1-3 which compare ticket prices at Utah, BYU and Utah State and to the rest of the country.
Fans of Brigham Young University football expect big crowds and a strong atmosphere in LaVell Edwards Stadium on game day.
Since the school made the leap to independence in football, rumblings and grumblings from local media and fringes of the fan-base might have some wondering if the jump from a conference might negatively affect the stadium atmosphere in Provo.
But complaints about opponents, November matchups and kickoff times didn’t make a blip in season ticket sales for 2013.
The opposite appears true: Independence is strengthening ticket sales.
Selling out season tickets
According to BYU athletic media relations, BYU has sold more season tickets in 2013 than any other year since 2003. Not only did the stadium sell out season tickets quickly, there was hardly any turnover. BYU saw close to a 97 percent renewal rate from last year. BYU also provided information pointing out that the number of tickets per order also increased this season.
All are positive signs and a testament to what Athletic Director Tom Holmoe has been saying since 2010: The schedule will continue to improve and the home slate will be one fans are excited to see.
Even if the games aren’t in the afternoon, fans are clearly more excited to see Texas and Georgia Tech than they were for Wyoming and New Mexico.
While the school has sold out its season tickets, it’s important to note that unlike schools with smaller stadiums like Utah or Boise State, BYU has the capacity to set aside seats for single-game buyers. That allows the school to make extra money as higher profile games like Texas, Utah, Boise State and Georgia Tech command higher single-game ticket prices.
Those tickets will go on sale to Legacy Club Members on next Monday, July 29, Cougar Club Members on Tuesday, season ticket holders on Wednesday and to the public on Aug. 5.
Gauging the revenue
Fans in Utah get a good deal on football tickets. All three FBS programs offer a great product for a price well below many other schools, and even though BYU raised the price of tickets for most seats in the stadium — some by more than 30 percent — the gameday experience in Provo remains very affordable.
The University of Utah will bring in more than $14 million in ticket and ticket-donation revenues this season. Naturally, BYU fans are eager to know how much BYU makes from its season ticket sales.
Because BYU is a private institution it is not required to share sales or revenue numbers, unlike state-funded schools. The $14 million figure provided by Utah, however, can be used to derive an estimate for BYU's revenues.
BYU’s ticket prices on average are 10-15 percent more than Utah’s. In addition, LaVell Edwards Stadium's seating capacity is about 40 percent higher than Rice-Eccles Stadium. Utah’s schedule gives the Utes a seventh home game, and BYU plays six.
Using the $14 million baseline and assuming BYU sells 40 percent more season tickets at a 12 percent higher price on average, adding in the $115 per person BYU assesses its students, it appears BYU likely generates nearly $20 million in season ticket sales for football. This figure includes a 15 percent reduction for not having a seventh home game.
It also shows how important and lucrative a seventh home game can be — Notre Dame usually plays eight.
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