LSU approves sports ticket price hikes - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

LSU approves sports ticket price hikes

Updated:

MELINDA DESLATTE
Associated Press
    
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Ticket prices for thousands of LSU football and baseball fans will rise in upcoming seasons, after the university governing board agreed Friday to a price hike request from Athletic Director Joe Alleva.
    
Nearly all members of the LSU Board of Supervisors voted in favor of Alleva's proposals to make 150 changes to prices for tickets and parking at university sports events, including boosted price tags for the 2014 football season and for the 2015 baseball season.
    
Two people on the 15-member board opposed the cost increases for fans, student member John Woodard and board member Scott Angelle. Angelle said the price increases were premature since the athletic department stands to gain millions in new revenue from a TV contract slated to begin next year.
    
But Alleva told the board that his department needed more cash to keep up with rising costs for salaries, benefits, travel and athlete scholarships.
    
"These funds are needed to balance our current budget," he said.
    
Nearly $62 million of the $101.5 million in annual revenue the athletic department expects to bring in for the 2013-14 budget year comes from ticket sales, "seat donations" that are required to buy some tickets, and parking payments.
    
The ticket and parking price changes were estimated to raise about $2.3 million in the current budget year and grow to $4 million a year later.
    
"Our goal is certainly to keep ticket prices as low as possible, while at the same time making sure that the athletic department has the resources it needs to play for championships and also delivers a great fan experience," said board member Blake Chatelain, who supported the increases.
    
For football fans, the costs of sitting in 63,000 seats will increase, covering more than two-thirds of Tiger Stadium, while the ticket price for at least 5,000 seats will drop.
    
The price paid to attend an LSU football game varies greatly depending on where someone sits in the stadium. The Tradition Fund donation required to buy some tickets will grow by up to $90 depending on location, while the cost of some season tickets will increase by $25.
    
The maximum price hike a fan could face for the season is $115 per seat.
    
Other prices will be raised across a list of athletic events, though costs to attend a basketball game for many fans will drop. The cost of attending a baseball game will increase by up to $100 per seat depending on the location.
    
Alleva asked for the price hikes though the athletic department has $11 million in reserves and is in line for a new multimillion-dollar annual payment for its participation in the SEC Network, a TV network set to launch next year.
    
Board members said they've heard estimates the university could bring in as much as $20 million annually in the TV deal, but Alleva said he doesn't know what LSU will receive.
    
"I pray to God that we make a lot of money and the university gets half and everybody's happy. Our expenses go up every year $2 million to $3 million, so hopefully that network will help us defer us having to come to you in the future and ask for future increases," Alleva said.
    
Angelle said it was too soon to raise ticket costs until the athletic department determines how much it will get from the SEC Network, revenue he called "real and substantial."
    
The LSU Board of Supervisors refused to relinquish some of its control over future ticket price increases, stripping that language from the package of proposals before approving them.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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