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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Give students a break on tickets

Last Tuesday, UW Associate Athletic Director John Jentz told the Athletic Department's Finance, Facilities and Operations Committee that, in order to supplement $60 million in lost revenue, ticket prices for Wisconsin sporting events could increase in the next year.

This is bad news for all Badger fans as the sports they love will become more expensive at a time when, given the economic downturn, many cannot afford it. But raising the cost of tickets on students, a group that shells out more than any other, is even more heinous. Raising the cost of tickets for students will have a large, detrimental effect on fans for comparatively little positive impact on the Athletic Department's budget.

Non-student fans often complain about the steep discounts many students receive on season ticket packages compared to those paid by alumni or casual fans, but what they fail to consider is the amount of money students pay just to have access to those tickets.

Students shell out thousands of dollars to attend this university, and along with a world-class education they should also expect to receive cheaper access to its sporting events. But while other Big Ten schools give students free tickets, UW-Madison insists on charging students ever-increasing costs to watch our teams.

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The problem is that the Athletic Department realizes they can charge whatever they want for student tickets, and we will still pack the stands. Students paid $130 for season football tickets last year but if the cost increased to $150, how many students would pass on a season at Camp Randall Stadium? What if the cost was $200? $300?

No matter the cost, students' season tickets for the revenue sports of football, men's basketball and men's hockey will always have a market that will pay anything. But just because the Athletic Department can charge whatever they want for student tickets does not mean they should.

If the Athletic Department is facing a $60 million deficit and truly has exhausted all options other than raising ticket costs, there is no way simple price increases for student tickets could raise that much money. For example, raising football ticket prices by 50 percent for students would result in a gain of less than $1 million. If Barry Alvarez can find $59 million elsewhere, you would think he could twist the boosters arms enough to get a few extra dollars from them and spare the Badgers' most important and die-hard fans, the students.

The Wisconsin Athletic Department must realize that the student section is not like other groups of fans at a Badger game. On top of being the loudest and most infamous group of Wisconsin fans in any building, students contribute massive amounts of money each semester to the university and its Athletic Department on top of what they pay for tickets, and should not be first in line when the Department needs money.

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