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BYU to raise ticket prices

By Darnell Dickson - Daily Herald - | Feb 15, 2007

The funding for a five-year plan to renovate LaVell Edwards Stadium is going to come out of the pockets of BYU football fans.

Brigham Young University announced its 2007 football season ticket prices on Thursday, which showed an increase of anywhere from $6 per ticket for end zone seats to $110 per ticket for loge donors. Built into the increase is the first “facility fee” ever implemented by BYU. Money from this fee will go directly to funding a renovation of LaVell Edwards Stadium and could bring in as much as $2.5 million over the five-year period.

The new ticket prices also reflect a general increase (the first since 2001) which will go to the athletic department budget.

BYU enjoyed a banner year in 2006, posting an 11-2 record and winning the Mountain West Conference title. The Cougars also beat arch rival University of Utah for the first time since 2001 and blasted Oregon 38-8 in the Las Vegas Bowl.

“After (head coach) Bronco Mendenhall’s first year, we were contemplating this increase,” said BYU Director of Athletics Tom Holmoe. “But it just wasn’t the right place and time. We know this is the right time in our program for this decision. We’re in a good position to do it.

“The decision to raise ticket prices was not made without a great deal of discussion, research and contemplation. While we realize this is never a popular thing to do, it has become necessary for us to provide essential repairs and improvements.”

Joe Herrick, a former kicker at BYU who has season tickets, said the increase is the cost of building a successful program.

“People sometimes avoid opportunities to help raise money,” Herrick said. “They think, ‘Oh, the big guys can come in and take care of that.’ But what their $10 or $20 does is it helps them invest in the program. The renovations are probably long past due. If you’re a real fan, you want to support them.”

Blair Dowd is a season ticket holder from Orem. He said he isn’t against the increase in ticket prices but wants to see something for his money.

“If they’re going to hit me for more money, I want to see something that enhances my experience as a fan,” he said. “The demand is high enough for tickets that they can raise prices. I grew up in California and to go to a USC game it was $50 a seat or more, so it really isn’t that expensive here.”

LaVell Edwards Stadium was originally called Cougar Stadium. It was built in 1964 at a cost of about $1.5 million. In 1982, a major project expanded the seating capacity to 65,000. In 1996, a video wall was added to the south end of the stadium and a portion of the east stands was retrofitted for “Legacy Seats” in 2003. In the past two years, upgrades to the stadium’s electrical system, television truck pad, restroom facilities, west side chair seats and elevators have been completed.

But according to Holmoe, there’s much more to do. Building a new football stadium is cost prohibitive — “It was never considered,” Holmoe said — so the five-year plan to raise money for future projects was BYU’s best option. The most recent college stadium re-build was at Stanford, which paid around $90 million for the project.

BYU plans to repair eroded concrete, resurface concourse walkways and stadium ramps, replace or repair stadium stairs, repaint the stands, replace stadium lights, refurbish the visiting team locker room, create a visiting team press area and build a west-stadium hosting facility.

BYU operates on a $30 million athletic budget — less than half of Louisiana State University ($68 million), where former BYU head coach Gary Crowton just became offensive coordinator.

Some fans may think the price hike is a reflection of the team’s recent success. But BYU Associate Athletic Director Duff Tittle said the school would have implemented the facility fee regardless, and even successful programs have to find creative ways to build revenue.

“We lost money all the time going to the Holiday Bowl, the Motor City Bowl and the Liberty Bowl,” Tittle said.

In 2006, BYU added a $20 premium fee for about 13,000 fans who purchased Las Vegas Bowl tickets. Holmoe said half of that fee went to online and credit card fees as well as shipping costs. So the athletic department profited an additional $130,000 with those fees.

Holmoe pointed out that BYU’s season ticket prices are still less than most Bowl Championship Series conference schools.

“Will this price some people outfi It could,” Holmoe admitted. “But we can’t lose money on this operation. We’ve cut in some areas. It’s hard to keep some programs alive without improvements, and that means costs.”

The All-Sports Pass for students will continue to be $85, which is significantly less that similar packages at other major universities.

Darnell Dickson can be reached at 344-2555 or ddickson@heraldextra.com.

Rise and Shout Your Wallet Comes Out

New BYU football season ticket prices for 2007:

Seat Location 2006 Prices 2007 Prices Increase

Public Seating

End Zone $90 $96 $6

Faculty/Staff Sideline $100 $120 $20

Sideline Bleachers $160 $180 $20

Donor Seating

West Chair $275 $330 $55

*East Club $500 $550 $50

*East Legacy $1,000 $1,100 $100

Loge $390 $500 $110

*Legacy Seat members must make a $1,000 donation to gain access to those seats; Club Seat members must make a $500 donation.

This story appeared in The Daily Herald on page A1.

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