UA Raises Ticket Prices To Generate Revenue

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas has decided to follow suit with the rest of the Southeastern Conference and raise the cost of its football ticket prices

The Razorbacks also appear close to postponing their home game against Texas from 2009 until at least 2014.

Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long announced Monday the cost of a general admission ticket for the upcoming football season has been increased from $35 to $45 to help cover the rising expenses associated with running an athletic department.

Tickets for skybox seats in Reynolds Razorback Stadium and War Memorial Stadium have gone up by $50 a piece. There are several other ticket increases that will go into effect for the 2008 season.

"When I arrive on campus and look at our financial situation and look at the revenue that we're generating and our revenue streams, it certainly appeared to me that it was time for this," said Long, who officially succeeded Frank Broyles as Arkansas' athletic director on Jan. 1.

"Certainly, coach Broyles and his staff were looking at a price increase coming into this year. So to say that it totally originated with me wouldn't be fair."

Monday's announcement didn't come as a surprise. Long told The Morning News earlier this month that football ticket prices would be increased to help generate more revenue for Arkansas' athletic department.

Long estimated that the higher ticket prices could generate an additional $1.5 to $1.6 million for Arkansas during the 2008 football season.

Long defended the rising cost of tickets during a gathering with reporters on Monday afternoon. He said the increase was "very fair" compared to what other SEC schools are charging their fans to attend home football games.

Arkansas' tickets have been among the cheapest in the SEC over the past few years. This is the school's first ticket increase since 2004.

Long said Arkansas decided to increase the ticket prices to help cover the rising travel, utility and maintenance costs.

The Razorbacks also incurred some more expenses because of the school's decision to merge its men's and women's athletic departments, as well as hire football coach Bobby Petrino for $2.85 million annually.

"This increase was in the pipeline before any coaching changes were announced. Certainly anytime you have a change, particularly in a football staff, you're going to have increased expenses," Long said. "Anytime there is a change, you're going to have a head coach that is not only paid more, but you're going to have an assistant staff that is paid more."

Along with the increase for general admission and skybox seats, a ticket in the red zone will go up by $15 and $25 in the south outside club. Student tickets will remain at $1 per game.

Meanwhile, Long said Monday that Arkansas has not agreed to move its game against Texas in Reynolds Razorback Stadium from 2009 until at least 2014, as the Austin American-Statesman reported Monday.

Long called the report "a little bit premature," but he confirmed that the Razorbacks are looking to push back one of its nonconference games from the 2009 season.

Arkansas officials have been working for the past few months on a deal to play Texas A&M in the Dallas Cowboys' new $1 billion stadium in 2009.

If the deal gets finalized, Long said the Razorbacks would be under contract to play 13 regular-season games in 2009, one more than the NCAA allows.

"Should the Texas A&M series come to fruition, we will have 13 games in 2009, so therefore we will have to look at our current nonconference games that year," Long said.

"Texas is one of those (opponents), but we'll be contractually obligated to more than 12 (games), so we'll have to get someone to work with us to postpone a game and Texas is on the schedule."

The Austin American-Statesman reported that a final decision regarding the Arkansas-Texas game could come this week.

SEC Single Game Ticket Prices

School Conference Games Premium Games

Alabama $55 $65

South Carolina* $45 $55

Auburn* $50

LSU $50

Tennessee* $50

Ole Miss $50

Georgia* $45**

Arkansas $45

Vanderbilt* $42

Kentucky $40

Mississippi State $40

Florida $32**

* 2007 prices; 2008 prices not established

** Requires minimum contribution Source: Arkansas athletic department

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