"When ASUA passed the resolution to pursue a "true student section", we were excited but cautious," said Jim Livengood, UA Director of Athletics. "We wanted to make sure that it would be a positive change not only for the students, but also for all of our fans. After carefully considering how the different options affected each and every ticket holder, we believe we came up with a great plan that is a "win-win" scenario for the entire Wildcat family."
McKale Center's new student section will be comprised of seating areas similar to those in current UA student areas, but it will be concentrated in the north end of the building. Following is a summary of the new student section:
o Located in the north end of McKale Center in one continuous area, floor to ceiling (see attached arena map)
o General admission, first-come, first-served seating (rather than reserved)
o Season tickets will be awarded via weighted lottery based on number of years as a Zona Zoo member
o Lottery winners will receive one ticket only and non-student upgrades will not be available
o There will be one full season ticket for all games occurring while school is in session (no split "A" and "B" seasons, holiday tickets will continue to be allocated separately)
Head coach Lute Olson feels the change will only improve an already outstanding home court advantage. Since his arrival in Tucson 22 years ago, Arizona has won better than 90 percent of its home games, posting a 322-33 (.907) record.
"The new Zona Zoo student section is extremely exciting for our program and what I envisioned since I arrived at Arizona. A true student section will provide us an even greater home court advantage and help to carry on McKale Center's great tradition as one of the nation's premier college basketball arenas," said Olson.
ASUA's support of the idea was instrumental in bringing the plan to fruition and its enthusiasm should serve it well when the student section debuts in November 2005.
"Student leadership has advocated for a unified student section since the late 1980s. We are ecstatic to be at a point that such a section can be instituted. We look forward to celebrating our new presence in the McKale Center in the 2005-06 Wildcat season," said Alistair Chapman, ASUA President.
"The implementation of the McKale Center student section is easily the most significant and exciting change for student fans in the last decade! I am so thrilled to give our students an opportunity to increase camaraderie and spirit in the McKale Center and know their excitement will have an impact on the entire campus. We could not have done this without the support of our Zona Zoo members and our close bond with athletics," said Amber Harryman, ASUA Spirit Director.
The vast majority of general public season ticket holders will remain in their current seats. However, seats in sections 20, 21, 24 (loge and middle), 121, 122 and 123 will be affected and moved to comparable seats. All 2004-05 Arizona basketball season ticket holders will receive a mailing providing more information on the student section and if their seats have been affected. Seat assignments will be made in June according to the Priority Point system.
Opened Feb. 1, 1973, the McKale Memorial Center has been sold out for the past 18 years and Arizona has led the Pac-10 in attendance in each of those seasons. In that span (1988-2005), Arizona has averaged 14,156 fans per game.