After two seasons of less-than-mediocre results, Indiana football is raising its prices on the people it needs to engage the most: young alumni.
Graduates from the classes of 2015-2019 will have an opportunity to purchase a single seat of Indiana football tickets for the 2019 season at the cost of $120 per ticket. And while that seems like quite a deal (because it is; I have not lost sight of the fact this is an incredible offer for six football games involving at least one (allegedly) power five team), it’s a 100% price increase from the 2018 season.
In 2018, with seven home games on the schedule, young alumni were charged $70 per seat for the season, or $10 per game. For the 2018 season, the Hoosiers welcomed an average attendance of 40,966, about 11,500 patrons short of a sell-out (Indiana lists the Memorial Stadium capacity at 52,626). Even at Homecoming, there were more than 12,000 empty seats
Fiddling with the numbers or adjusting for outliers won’t change the story. If you take out the attendance during the monsoon of a game against Virginia, the average increases to 41,879. But if you take out the two contests with in-state foes, which always see a lot of visiting fans, the average drops to 39,655.
The bottom line is that after a season where Indiana saw more than 11,000 empty seats in five of seven home games (attendance for the undefeated
clash bummer with Michigan State was 45,455 and the attendance for the Old Oaken Bucket game was 48,247), and after two seasons where the program failed to meet the bar of mediocrity set at 6-6 by Kevin Wilson’s last couple clubs, the athletic department has doubled the prices on a group of people who, by-and-large: (1) the university desperately needs to keep engaged so that they will one day become donors (like all schools need) and (2) have crippling amounts of student debt.
Who knows how many young alumni season tickets are bought each season. If the number is 5,000, is the potential extra $50,000 worth it?
I’m not complaining about the total cost. I renewed my young alumni tickets. And this isn’t me making the jokes we’ve all heard or thought: “They should pay me to go watch Indiana football,” etc., etc.
But maybe some young alumni won’t renew, or won’t buy for the first time. The extra $100 (the total increase for two tickets for the season) may actually be too much for some. Others might be offended that the department has the gall to raise prices 100% after two consecutive 5-7 season and two consecutive Bucket losses.
Maybe I’m wrong and no one will care at all. But no matter the starting point or the 2019 cost, the increase doesn’t look good to this young alumnus and doesn’t seem like a good way to engage the group as whole.
One thing is
certain apparent, though. Eastern Illinois single game tickets probably won’t cost the same as Ohio State single game tickets: