GVN EXCLUSIVE: Jeremy Wang, Asst. AD

THE UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO IS COMPLETING A MASSIVE RENOVATION to the Kibbie Athletic Center this summer and fall. As a result, season ticket holders are being reseated in the reconfigured Dome, and for the first time ever Idaho will be rewarding donors and season ticket holders using a priority point system (Vandal Points) based on their lifetime of giving to University of Idaho Vandal athletics.

This week University of Idaho Assistant Athletic Director Jeremy Wang took time from his hectic schedule to speak with GoVandals.net regarding the fast approaching renovations to the Kibbie Athletic Center, and discuss the impact on seating for the 2011 football season.

In addition to replacing the East Wall (a massive change that will match work done on the West Wall in 2009) and completing life-safety and fire suppression upgrades inside the Dome, Idaho is adding extensive new luxury seating upgrades (known as the Litehouse Center) to the South stands. These upgrades include Suites, Club Seats, an exclusive second level club room named the Bud and June Ford Club Room, and a row of Loge Seats at the front of the Club Room with spectacular views of the field.

Below is a question and answer session with Jeremy to get more details about the reseating process, what options are now available to Vandal fans, and to get a better understanding of the upgrades that will soon be completed.

Right now you are reseating all existing season ticket holders in the Dome for football. Why is Idaho going through this reseating process?

Great question! The construction of the new Litehouse Center will be creating Club seating that will impact the existing seating configuration. The club seating section will be built down into sections 4-8. With that construction, we will be building over current rows. Since this will be displacing fans who's seats are being built over, we needed to find a fair way to relocate those seats. In the end, we determined the fairest way to do so was to completely clear the slate and allow ALL fans to choose their seat location based on Vandal Points. This provides us with a fair and objective way to relocate our patrons.

The Litehouse Center is the name for all of the new premium seating and amenities going into the Dome. Within the Litehouse Center is the Bud and June Ford Club Room (shown here is a birds-eye view looking down on the club room, which is a new space above sections 5, 6 and 7). At the front of the Club Room are 8 Loge Boxes (six are already sold) with spectacular views of the field.

What will the quality of the new premium seating area be like?

Top notch. If you've been into a premium area such as Boise State's Steuckle Sky Center or at Oregon State's Reser Stadium, you'll see the same quality in the new Litehouse Center. The Bud and June Ford Club will provide quality concessions, alcohol service, and an area where you can enjoy pre-and post-game activities. All seats will be padded seats with extra width and more legroom than in the stadium grandstand. Our loge boxes will be the best seats in college football. Period. In most stadiums, premium seating is set back from the field, but these loge boxes will provide sightlines you won't find anywhere else in any venue.

What is the impact to revenue to the Athletic Program by the installation of the Suites, Club Seating, and Club Room in the Dome? We have heard it will double ticket revenue to the program. Is that accurate?

Overall revenue impact will be huge. Ticket revenue won't change that much, since ticket prices will remain the same for regular seats or premium seats. It's the donation component where we'll see an influx of funds. Premium seats come with a premium donation requirement. It is safe to estimate that our incremental VSF revenues will annually be raised by $250,000 or more by the sale of these premium seats.

Can you explain the objective of the points system? Obviously you'll be taking season ticket orders throughout the summer (not just in March). What does the point system do to change the process of buying tickets for existing season ticket holders?

The objective of the point system is to give us a fair and objective way to award benefits. This means reseating for this year, but it could mean bowl tickets, postseason tickets, parking, anything where we have a demand that exceeds supply. It's a tool to help us award benefits. It also will help us generate revenue. We hope as people see how points are being applied to different benefits, they'll need to keep their donations current and/or give more to VSF if they want to have a higher point ranking and access to more benefits. Points for this year means when you'll be able to pick your seat in the reseating process. We are only opening up the reseating process to folks that had season tickets in 2010. As we sell throughout the summer, people will be able to buy on a best available basis regardless of point rank. Now in future years we may reseat on a regular basis, ie every 2 or 3 years, so points would be used in that situation. Also in the future, if you want to move your seats to a different area or add seats, patrons with higher point totals will be given preference.

Is the process Idaho is using consistent with what is done at other programs? Was there a model you were following for this process?

Absolutley. We spent over 18 months developing our system taking best practices from other FBS institutions across the country. We focused on what our peer institutions and other WAC schools do as well. We developed a priority system that takes best practices from what premier departments in NCAA athletics are doing and fit them to our needs at Idaho.

Can you explain how the seating is prioritized? What moves a season ticket holder up the priority list?

When you get called, based on your Vandal Point rank, you can pick from what is available. Obviously the higher your rank, the earlier you get called, the more selection you have. As of today, our point rank is finalized. In the future, the best way to increase your point rank is to be current with your VSF donation and to increase your donation.

Stadium view looking up at the 8 new Luxury Suites (6 are already sold), and four rows of Club Seating in front of the Suites (spanning Sections 5, 6, and 7 of the stadium). Suite owners and Club Seat season ticket holders have access to the Bud and June Ford Club Room.

Assuming you will want to avoid open holes in the premium sections, will you start by filling Section 6 completely, then start filling Sections 5 and 7 next? Or is it possible you will have open pockets in all the premium sections after this reseating process?

Its possible we'll have pockets open, but I doubt we will after the process is over. When you are called you can choose seats wherever there is availability. So, the first person that gets called can choose seats right at midfield, but we won't tell them ‘no' if they want seats by the endzone! My best guest is that seats will fill in section 6 first then, 5 and 7, and so on. That's what's unique about what we are doing. Most schools automatically reallocate and tell you where you'll be sitting. We felt it was important to take the extra time to call out to our fans and give them the chance to choose.

Season ticket holders have the option to request seating in groups. Do the groups need to contact you BEFORE their scheduled call date to coordinate this, and what information do you need?

YES! It is imperative that if you want to be seated in a group that you contact the ticket office ASAP (208-885-6466) so that we can average your groups points and give you a new date and time for seating based on your group's points.

It looks like season ticket holders may be being asked to buy their tickets earlier than in years past. Do season tickets need to be purchased at the time of the call, or can seats be reserved on this call? Are there options? If seats can't be purchased at this time, does the season ticket holder lose their priority number?

Actually we are a little later than in the past. Last year we sent renewal packets at the end of February. Starting our calls for reseating on March 14th puts us about 3 weeks behind last year's schedule. Yes, payment is due at the time of the call. If patrons need to get on a payment plan or be invoiced so they can cut a check, they can discuss with the ticket agent that they speak with.

Does the season ticket holder lose their priority number if they miss the call?

Yes and no. If you miss the call, we will continue to move right on down the list in order to be efficient and get everyone seated. Seats will not be held for someone that misses a call. However if you miss your call, once your number is passed, you can call back into the ticket office and pick from best available when you get back to us. If you feel like you're going to miss your call time, please let us know at tickets@uidaho.edu (or phone at 208-885-6466). If you provide us with your preferences, we can automatically seat you in best available based on your preferences at your given time without making a call.

The process you are using is for existing season ticket holders. What about new season ticket holders? Can a new season ticket holder move into section 6 if the seats are not sold to an existing season ticket holder? What happens to the priority list in that case?

The priority list determines when you get called and have the ability to choose your seat. I suppose if after we go through almost 1000 calls to existing season ticket holders and there are still seats in section 6, then yes a new season ticket holder could buy in that section. We would be surprised if that happened. That would take every single one of the people we call passing on available seats on the 50 yard line for another preference.

Each year from now on, will season ticket holders get updates to their priority number with each passing season?

Yes. We will run Vandal Points at the end of each calendar year and at the end of each fiscal year. The latest version will be used when the need arises to award a benefit. We also reward the right to run special iterations of Vandal Points throughout the year to capitalize on a fundraising opportunity.

Plan View - Suites, Club Seats, and reconfigured stadium seating

Plan View - Club Room with front row Loge Seating

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