UA initiates $65 ticket in LR; SEC games $55

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Tuesday, February 23, 2010

— The University of Arkansas will raise football ticket prices for SEC home games to $55 and stick an extra $10 charge on all tickets for games at Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium in 2010.

Athletic Director Jeff Long, who announced the changes Monday in a news release, said the new base prices of $55 for conference games and $45 for nonconference games will remain in effect for a minimum of two seasons.

The changes will mean tickets for Arkansas’ game against LSU at War Memorial Stadium will cost $65, or $20 more than they did for the 2008 game there, a 31-30Arkansas victory dubbed the Miracle on Markham II.

Red Zone seats in Fayetteville will increase to $65 for SEC games and $55 for nonconference games, while seating in Hog Heaven for Little Rock games, Pig Heaven for Fayetteville games, indoor and outdoor clubs and suites will not be increased in 2010. Also unchanged at $45 are base ticket prices for nonconference games in Fayetteville.

Arkansas last raised football ticket prices from $35 to $45 before the 2008 season.

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The Razorbacks are expected to be a strong contender in the SEC West in Coach Bobby Petrino’s third season, as they return nine offensive starters, including record-setting quarterback Ryan Mallett, and seven defensive starters.

The higher ticket prices are expected to generate approximately $2.7 million in additional revenue for the 2010 season, with more than $1 million coming from the two Little Rock games.

“As we address the future funding needs of our program to compete and succeed in the Southeastern Conference and nationally, it is essential that we take steps to enhance ticket revenue,” Long said in the release.

“After consideration of many options including an increased ticket price for all games, we concluded that a price adjustment for conference football games would help us generate the much needed funds but also keep us below other regional institutions.”

Long pointed out that many SEC and Big 12 schools have raised prices for premium tickets in recent years, in some cases up to $100.

In the SEC, the highest ticket prices in 2009 were $70 for premium games at several schools, including Alabama, LSU and Tennessee.

Arkansas has generated roughly $3.7 million in revenue per home game in Fayetteville the past few seasons and $2 million for each game in Little Rock. An effort to close that gap was behind the decision to charge an extra $10 per ticket for Little Rock games this season.

War Memorial Stadium Commission chairman Gary Smith said the commission has had discussions with Long about increasing revenues at Little Rock games.

“Our commission takes seriously our responsibility to maintain a first-rate facility, but we also have to recognize and assist in closing the revenue gap created by the Razorbacks playing games in Little Rock,” Smith said in the release.

“We appreciate the commitment the University of Arkansas and the athletic department has made to Central Arkansas and we want to work together to maintain our longterm relationship.”

Research by the Democrat-Gazette showed that Arkansas’ increase to $55 tickets for conference games would tie for seventh among SEC schools in the highest prices charged for premium games.

Long said per-game ticket prices for men’s basketball will not be increased for the 2010-2011 season.

The season ticket charge of $25 per game will be retained for next season in men’s basketball.

Sports, Pages 15 on 02/23/2010