First-time season ticket discussion

Submitted by BlueFish on May 31st, 2010 at 6:40 PM

Allow me to preface my question by noting that this is not a "congrats to me on my first season tickets!" post. I'm genuinely interested in the discussion, and I couldn't find any previous posts that reflect it.

Background: I've been procrastinating for years about getting football season tickets, partly because living out-of-state meant I probably wouldn't be able to attend more than 2-3 games in any given season. To compound matters, I either wasn't told about or completely botched the switch from the old waiting list to the new priority point system.

So in December, I decided it was time to make my initial donation (albeit a paltry one) and activate my priority points. I had an idea what those points should be after the donation (~15), but I was convinced that they would NOT be enough to receive a season ticket offer (much less one that isn't in the endzone). In 2009, 18 points ranked 12,500.

Lo and behold, I received an offer last month to purchase tickets in the blue zone. I was shocked. So my questions are these:

1. What are the experiences of the MGoNation with regard to the priority point list? Has anyone received an offer with less than 15 points? Has anyone needed significantly more than 15 to receive an offer? At what point total have you been invited to upgrade to a new seating tier?

2. IF this is indeed unusual (as I assumed it would be), are there factors that would explain it?

I heard a while back that season ticket renewals run ~97% each year (which I assume doesn't include students, who turn over at a rate of roughly 25%). If season tickets comprise 60% of stadium capacity (good/bad assumption?), that would open ~2,000 seats for new season tickets each year. To compound matters, I'd heard that some changes in the stadium (e.g. to achieve ADA compliance, widen aisles, etc.) would be reducing capacity. On the other hand, perhaps some of the better-off donors are upgrading to indoor seating. And of course, there's the theory that unhappy ticket holders could be voicing their disapproval with the product on the field by not renewing.

But perhaps my initial assumption that all 15,000+ with a priority ranking are waiting for tickets is simply a bad one. Many of those with a high point total probably have tickets already. In which case I would ask:

3. Are there really only 5,000ish people on the waiting list who don't have tickets? That level of demand would seem low to me.


Happy Memorial Day to everyone, especially the Vets.


Fresh Meat

May 31st, 2010 at 8:41 PM ^

Wow, was it really that easy?  I've been thinking about doing it for a while but always figured it would cost more in donations than I would want.  Can I ask how much you've donated total before you got your offer?


May 31st, 2010 at 9:27 PM ^

My wife and I are in the same boat.  Graduated from the U, lived out of state for a while, moved back home, and applied for tickets this fall with maybe 10+ points to our name.

Unfortunately, we did not receive a season ticket offer.

I did however just get an email this weekend for the "All In" ticket package.  We get end zone seats, different for each game, but you get the whole season.  I've not seen or heard of this before.  Has anybody else?

Of course, we bought them, and are looking forward to the season.  But I was a bit disappointed at not getting the season ticket offer.  Not sure if I did something wrong on the application, or didn't give enough of a donation.

I am curious to know what others experiences have been.  I've heard that ticket sales aren't as booming as they used to be, but that was most likely pure speculation.  I've also heard of folks (non-alum even) getting tix within two years of applying.  All I know is that I didn't make the cut this time around.

Happy to be "All In" though, even if I am sitting amongst a bunch of Badgers in Section 12.


May 31st, 2010 at 10:26 PM ^

They did this last year, and the seats are not necessarily in the endzone. I got the package last year, and my worst seats were goaline. The rest were as good as the 35 yard line and in the 6th row for the ND game. Mathews TD was right in front of me so that was pretty awesome. I also seem to recall being offered renewable season tickets for a paltry $125/year/seat donation. May be wrong about that and don't know why I didn't do it.


June 1st, 2010 at 7:38 AM ^

I signed up for the wait list last year right before the season started, I donated $300 this season and was given 2 renewable season tickets in the blue tier.  you should have received something for having 10 pts as I only had the 3.  I am not an alum just a fan


May 31st, 2010 at 10:14 PM ^

Last I heard, renewal rates had dropped to about 93% starting the first or second year of the PSD (pre-RR).  It's been a lot easier to get season tickets as of late.


May 31st, 2010 at 10:21 PM ^

I think there are some people that don't want to spend the extra cash for the Preferred Seats -Victors ($500 per seat), Valiant ($375 per seat), Maize ($250 per seat) or Blue ($125 per seat).  Given the local economy I could see the end zone seats actually being preferred over the higher priced seats for a number of people.  I could see some people wanting to hang on to their tickets but downgrading to a lesser category.  I'm assuming that renewal percentage for corporate and individual tickets is probably lower now than in the past - crappy results on the field plus the crappy local economy.  So I'm not that surprised you got tickets.   

I'm in section 39 and have always made enough of a donation to qualify for the preferred seats but liked my seats and never asked for an upgrade.

I've asked to go to at least Blue this year so we will see what happens.

Kilgore Trout

June 1st, 2010 at 10:29 AM ^

It's expensive to be in the good seats.  I'm in section 22 on the aisle, about halfway up.  I couldn't be happier with my seats, but every February and May, it is a real kick in the pants.  $1000 PSD for the 2 tix in February and $760 in May for the actual seats.  That works out to $125 a seat per game.  In the big picture, that isn't horrible, but it's always rough right after you pay off your credit card from Christmas. 

On another note, it's not so easy to get rid of tickets you don't want anymore.  The unfortunate byproduct of the MAC / FCS scheduling philosophy is that if you want to make any of your money back, you're going to have to give up ND / MSU / PSU or OSU.


June 3rd, 2010 at 1:44 AM ^

I've taken to bundling tickets - if you want ND, you have to take Eastern Michigan too, and so on.  I usually charge 2x the premium game ticket price for the bundle.  So far, so good.


May 31st, 2010 at 11:58 PM ^

Curious, how does one get "points"?  Is that just based on how much $$$ you give or are there other ticket buying factors thrown in?

Tully Mars

June 1st, 2010 at 12:26 AM ^

I just got the offer (and took it up) this year for 2 'blue' renewable season tickets.  I made a $150 donation to the victor's club in December of 2009, when I joined the victor's club.  Depending on whether or not student tickets count towards the 'ticket loyalty points', I'd have either 7 or 14 priority points (5 for being an alum, 1 for the $150 donation, 1 for the 'All In' package I bought last year, and 7 seasons of student tickets (5 in football and 2 in basketball).

I was pretty surprised to get the offer this year.  I'm guessing it's the confluence of the economy and our recent records.  I guess at least I can take something positive out of those two not so happy events.


June 1st, 2010 at 12:38 AM ^

This won't answer any of your questions, OP, but it's related and kinda interesting.

I graduated in 1988. At the time, I did not have season tickets. A good buddy of mine did, though, and for the 9 or 10 years after that, he and I pretty much split them. I was happy with that because back then I honestly couldn't afford the commitment year in and year out. My buddy moved out east in 1997, and gave up the tix. (Ugh!) So I put my name on the waiting list.  At that time, there were about 15 priority categories. Being in the alumni association got me roughly halfway up the list (which back in those days was roughly 10,000 and only a 1-2% turnover) category #8 or 9 as I recall.  Anyway... here's what happened after that:

1998 - No ticket offer at all
1999 - 3 games, all seats in the same location, section 42 down low
2000 - 3 games, ditto (maybe a few rows different from before)
2001 - 4 games, ditto
2002 - 4 (maybe 5?) games, ditto
2003 - ALL games, ditto
2004 - ALL games, ditto
2005 - DING DING DING! I am officially a season ticket holder!! Seats in the North End Zone. (Much celebrating ensues.)

Note that each of those years, I was instructed that in order to keep my place on the waiting list, I was required to buy what they were offering. I'm pretty convinced that in 2003 and 2004, they were just stringing me along so that when I officially came off the waiting list in 2005, I would fall into the category of those that have to pay a $50/seat PSD (required of all new season ticket holders in 2005 and beyond).

I still have those same seats, and while I'd like to have better ones and could actually afford it, I keep them mainly because I'm up high (can see the entire field) and on an aisle, which is pure gold when you need to pop out to the bathroom. No crawling over anyone, and there are no "down in front" issues up there. I think I'll probably keep 'em forever.


June 1st, 2010 at 7:00 AM ^

I remember after the last stadium expansion, excuse me- "renovation", people were offered the chance to transfer their tickets.  As their been any talk of doing this again once all of the renovations are done?

I ask because I'm not doing a lot to actively pursue season tickets, such as making donations, as I'd like to eventually get my Uncle (who now lives in South Carolina) to transfer his tickets to me.  I haven't heard anything, but I don't remember how well-known the ability to transfer tickets was until shortly before it became officially possible.


June 1st, 2010 at 3:38 PM ^

IIRC, the ability to transfer tickets to anyone was a one-time thing, allowed at the outset of the PSD program in 2005. It was for a very limited time, and you had to pay a huge fee... I think it was $500. After that, they went back to the old rules... no transfers allowed except to your spouse.




June 1st, 2010 at 9:16 AM ^

after waiting for 10 years after I graduated in 99. I found out after I got them finally that they had not properly counted my priority points by neglecting to give me 5 for being an alum. Nice job, fools. So I got season tickets with 8 priority points (should have been 13).

I had gotten the "Go Blue" pack from 05-08 (tickets to all games but homecoming) and "donated" $100 every year after I moved back to the state in late 04.

Mine are in the "no PSD" section, but right on the corner of the end zone, high up and two rows from the entrance. I'm not giving them up.


June 1st, 2010 at 3:33 PM ^

I got two renewable Blue season tickets this year for the first time, after donating just $100 to activate my points. As best I can tell, I have 12 points: 5 for my degree, 5 for my wife's, 1 point for the $100 this year and 1 point for $1,000 in past giving to U-M (non-athletics). I also got the All-In pack last year and my wife and I each had student tickets for 4 years, but I don't know if those count. Before last year, I had never even been offered the chance to buy any tickets outside of the regular public sale. I'm planning to sell probably half of my tickets this year (Massachusetts and Bowling Green, anyone?) because I can't go to all of them, but it's worth losing a little money on those for the chance to have them every year from here on out.

Also, for anyone else who got the Blue offer and lives in Michigan, the $250/year PSD donation works out to only about $100 after state and federal tax deductions, since Michigan gives you a credit worth half of a donation to a public university (to a certain limit), and PSD donations are 80% tax deductible.