Comparing costs: BYU rolls out new seat selection process, sells out season tickets rapidly for big revenues
While the public may never know the exact revenue number, the size of BYU’s stadium and the high demand for tickets are indicative of a very strong program with great fan support and a significant revenue stream.
A new seating system
BYU season ticket holders had a new ticket purchasing experience this season.
Rather than paying the athletic department and having seats assigned, fans were invited to pick seats in a priority order based on their tenure as season ticket holders, Cougar Club membership status and donation level.
Fans were given set times for logging in to BYU’s ticketing system and selecting from available seats.
“Response has been overwhelmingly positive. The process is essentially the same, we are just using the available technology to give our fans a more active role in the selecting of seats,” Clark Livsey, special events ticket manager said.
Duff Tittle, associate BYU athletics director, echoed those sentiments.
“We've had very good feedback from fans regarding the new online ticketing system. The system makes it easy for fans to see what's available and get a good idea of (what) the view is like from the seats. The process is easy and available 24-hours a day,” he said.
Josh Wright and his brother aren’t members of the Cougar Club, but have been season ticket holders for eight years.
“Compared to years past, this experience was very exciting to us. The visibility of available tickets was awesome and picking seats will always be better than just sitting where they tell you to sit. We are very happy with what we were able to get,” Wright said.
“I was actually surprised at the availability of seats when it was my assigned time. I was able to move down to the lower bowl for the same price as the upper bowl tickets would have been,” said Michael Dustin Young, a fan from Layton.
But not everyone is satisfied with the new process.
Lanell Topham, from Modesto, Calif., and his wife have been season ticket holders since 1980. They prefer the simplicity of the old way.
“We had to call during a certain hour. It was just a hassle. Before that, we paid our money, got our tickets, it was done.” he said.
Additionally, the ranking system left some fans feeling unappreciated. After a decade in the same seats, Jeff Hansen, of Logan, found the new ranking pushed him further down the pecking order for seat selection and forced him to move.
“It definitely felt like BYU was making it clear — money talks. Because we don't donate as much as other fans, our (long-time) seats were long gone by the time our ticket buying time came.”
It's reality that sports spectating is becoming a meritocracy. Priority is given to those who contribute the most. BYU isn’t doing anything other schools haven’t done, but for those fans who are negatively affected, that’s a hard pill to swallow.
Hiccups in the process aside, this year’s season ticket sales for BYU football bode well for a program that boasts a number of high-profile opponents for future home games.
But in order for LaVell Edwards Stadium to remain full, the team must continue to win, and Tom Holmoe and his staff must continue to bring compelling games to Provo.
If that happens, regardless of kickoff times and the seat-selection process, BYU games will continue to be a product well worth the price of admission.
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