Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Men's Basketball: Mail From A New Season Ticket Holder

Editor’s Note: I’d like to thank Lake the Posts for pointing out an error in the original headline of this story. I wrote the story fast and didn’t proofread. To some it’s not a huge deal, but the fact is I should have seen it and known better. – The WRR Management.

I got an e-mail recently from an individual who was rather upset. Thankfully, he wasn’t upset at me, but at NU’s ticket office. It seems this gentleman wanted to buy two season tickets for this upcoming basketball season. He was excited at all the good press for NU and wanted to, “go from attending five games to attending fifteen.” NU actually has 20 home games this year, but you get the point. This guy wanted to become a season ticket holder. In addition, he said that he had hoped to get season tickets somewhere in the lower section of Welsh-Ryan. Apparently, he believed this wouldn’t be a problem given that at the games he attended last season, he saw a ton of empty seats in the lower sections. However, it turned out he was unable to get the seats he desired. He was told that despite the fact those sections are never full, they are sold. This individual did purchase two tickets in the upper level of the purple section, but he said he was disappointed that as somebody who planned to attend every game, he couldn’t get a better seat than somebody who only attends a few.

The fact is I’ve heard versions of this story repeatedly. We all have taken a look around Welsh-Ryan and seen a ton of empty seats in good sections. These seats are in fact sold. I believe in many cases they are sold to corporations that simply don’t use them very often. Now, while I’m not really in favor of pulling the tickets of corporations which have been long time season ticket holders, I’d like to hold them to some standard of support. I believe NU should start monitoring the use of these tickets, especially in the premium lower-level purple seats. Other schools do this by either filming the crowd at games, or by having ushers know who actually owns each seat. If NU finds that certain corporations are using their seats less than 50% of the time, or are giving those seats to opposing fans, I think those corporations seats should be moved to a less desirable location. Maybe NU could create a section for corporate season tickets. It’d be recognizable as the entirely empty lower section when NU plays Central Connecticut State.

As the mail I’ve gotten show, plenty of NU fans and alums exist who would attend every game, support the ‘Cats, and feel thankful to have good seats. Now, I know to some this might be controversial, some readers might even be high ranking members of the corporations whose seats I want to move, but the fact is NU needs NU fans in the good seats every single game. There just aren’t enough NU basketball fans in general. Those who really want to commit to showing up at Welsh-Ryan shouldn’t have to sit above empty seats. The other thing is that as much as I love NU basketball, I can’t possibly think of any corporation that would think tickets to an NU basketball game was a really good way to reward a top employee or a real treat for a client unless that person was an NU fan or NU is using some product they want a client to see. If the people who get the corporate seats are NU fans, they can buy NU tickets on their own at some point, and they shouldn’t mind if fans who attend every NU home game have better seats. If they are viewing some product NU is using they don’t have to view that product from some of the best seats in the arena. I suspect the truth is many of corporations hold on to NU season tickets to give to clients who are fans of other Big Ten schools to which its impossible to get tickets for. For example, Wisconsin fans who make the trek from Madison or who live the Chicago area and can’t get a seat in Madison or worse Illini fans that can’t make it to Champaign. This needs to stop. So I’m asking NU’s Athletic Department, please make good seats available to good fans.


G1000 said...

Agreed. Also, there's lousy news on the recruiting front. Apparently Shannon Scott has ruled out NU. Hopefully that doesn't mean the rest of the "Georgia Peaches" will follow (but I think they might).

Greg said...

Honestly, this guy should have known better than to think he'd get the best seats in the house as first time season ticket holder! When the team is bad, there are surely a lot of empty purple seats in the lower bowl. However, I would be shocked if there are too many empty seats during the 2010 Big Ten season when NU is making its run at the NCAA Tournament. Hopefully, the empty seats issue will sort itself with an exciting team.

Black and Purple said...

The fans should take matters into their own hands and migrate into the empty seats when they are empty. When they are filled with fans from another team they should, well, make their lives miserable.

Anonymous said...

I had season tickets for three seasons before I was able to move from the upper level to the lower level, and these weren't even in the purple seats. I understand the guy's complaint, but I think he was a little naive too.

Also, NU does track ticket usage. I know this because I got a basketball signed by Carmody for attending all the non-conference games a couple of years ago.

Marc said...

I will be part of the problem this year.

In the past I have bought pick-4, but I was sick of being surrounded by opposing fans in mid-upper deck so this year we are purchasing season tickets.

That being said it is almost impossible for us to make weekday games so we will send many tickets back to Northwestern via the ticketturnaround program.

We are FBC and NGN members along with being 14 year football season ticket holders(1 missed game over 14 years).

I would rather buy select games with good/decent seats and attend, but there is no way for that to happen outside the scalp market so instead we will expand the season ticket ranks, but not change the total attendance at W-R.