Arkansas State Football's 'Next Level' Comes At A Cost

by Chris Bahn  on Monday, Mar. 26, 2012 12:00 am  

Doggett is excited about the possibilities. Arkansas State set a record for annual giving ($700,000) after going 4-8 in 2010. A new record seems within reach now that Malzahn, a former Arkansas high school coach and current darling of the national media, is at the helm. “Who knows what we can do now?” Doggett said.

ASU officials see an opportunity to grow the season ticket base, which was at 7,042 in 2011. Hitting 10,000 season ticket holders in 2012 seems like a reasonable goal to those within the department. A dream scenario would be growing the base to 14,000 fans.

Any growth will come as the school increases the price of getting into the games. General admission season ticket packages remain $75, but everything else has increased.

Platinum Suite seating is now $175 per ticket, up from $145. Even the price for children is up to $65, an increase of $10. Chair back seats have jumped from $145 to $175. Selling out the 3,000 chair back seats in ASU Stadium would create an influx of $90,000 into the $3.25 million football budget.

Typically, price and donation increases are not well received by fans. Red Wolves supporters seem to view it as a necessary step to improve the program’s fortunes and build on last year’s 10 wins and Bowl appearance.

“Anybody would take that tradeoff,” said Hannah, a 15-year season ticket holder.

Lee, the athletic director, knew there was a risk of backlash from fans, which is part of the reason general admission tickets remained $75, already one of the highest prices in the Sun Belt Conference. Only Louisiana-Lafayette ($96) and North Texas ($100) have higher general admission prices. “You can price yourself out of the market,” Lee said. “There’s a threshold for what people will accept and understand.”

Arkansas State will continue working to raise money through donations. A new level of giving has been added to the Red Wolf Club to reflect increased interest from fans. Previously, the Director Level for $5,000 or more was the top donation level. Now a Champion designation is possible for anybody who gives $10,000 or more in a year.

Getting one of the 300 best parking spots outside the venue will now require a $1,500 donation instead of the $1,250 it was last year. That move could generate an extra $75,000 for the coffers.

Corporate stadium naming rights are also available for the right amount.

“We need a complete buy-in from our fans and donors,” Doggett said. “That’s how we get to the next level.”



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