Season tickets for students? Fixing attendance on the Hill? DRad looking at all options
|Thursday, January 25, 2018, 1:36 PM- -|
CLEMSON – Student ticketing for football and attendance on Clemson’s iconic Hill were all hot-button topics during the 2017 season as students bristled at the new ticket distribution format and the Hill appeared empty for some home games.
What will 2018 hold? Clemson Athletic Director Dan Radakovich is looking at ways to improve both.
In 2017, Clemson students were the only students in Division 1 athletics to have access to completely free tickets to football games. A Clemson spokesman told TigerNet in August that 10,500 student tickets are made available in lower deck seats, on the Hill, and in top deck seats. That's about 13 percent of the 80,000 seat stadium. Those tickets are available based on class status. Seniors take precedence over underclassmen. IPTAY Collegiate Club members also have a better shot at tickets since they have access to an earlier online ticket window ahead of each game.
However, the removal of block seating (instituted by student government and not the athletic department) caused an uproar and petitions were made to change the distribution system.
The Hill was reserved for those holding student tickets, and at times appeared almost empty, and Radakovich told TigerNet Wednesday that the athletic department is looking at ways to improve both areas.
It starts with making The Hill a go-to place once again.
“We've continued to have dialogue with the student government and we'll be able to talk with the executive leadership team and the board about some plans this spring about student ticketing,” Radakovich said. “We're not 100-percent of the way there, but we know that last year that all of our tickets were picked up and claimed by students, but not all students who claimed tickets came to games. So, how do you alter that problem?
“There were some photographs that I saw - I know that everyone as did I was incredibly exercised by the fact that the Hill was not full for some games. It's an important part of the game day experience here, so we altered ways of getting students in there. When we said that the Hill was for students and we made it for students and we allocated the tickets.”
Radakovich said the athletic department understands the Hill has long been a place for fans other than students.
“One of the things that we found is that there were a lot of people who weren't students who were on the Hill,” he said. “You knew that by going and watching old game footage when they would pan the Hill. If you look there, you're like, 'That guy is not a student and that person is not a student.' When we made it part of being a student deal, there was some attrition there from people who may have had tickets in other parts the stadium but just enjoyed that atmosphere. That was part of it. I guarantee you we gave out all 3,000 tickets for the Auburn game and there were 3,000 students that showed up there and they were there and it looked full.
“For some of the other games, we gave out the 3,000 tickets but for one reason or another, the students did not get there. We made adjustments to the entry procedures during the course of the year. I think the last two games looked really good there, so there were some positives associated with this. The big key is to be able to get the tickets in the hands of the students that desire them. That's the white whale - to be able to get that process worked together.”
Radakovich said the school is not considering an athletic fee for students but would consider selling season tickets to those that want to sit in the lower bowl.
“I think there's a real difference between the term athletic fee that would apply to everybody and a cost for a football ticket, which would be only the people who are wanting it and that's certainly part of our discussion,” he said. “I think one of the things we talked about is you would buy a season ticket. You would have a season ticket. These are proposal pieces, but you would buy a season ticket, so it's yours and if you couldn't make it, you have the ability in a closed environment of students to be able to give your ticket to another student. Those are where we are. The cost and all of those things, I think there's a value for being there at the game, especially in the lower areas of the stadium.
“If we have 10,500 student tickets and 2,100 are in the upper deck, I'm not sure we're looking at putting any type of cost associated with the upper deck tickets. There will be some portion of those student tickets that remain without any type of cost. I think there's value in the lower deck. There's value in the Hill. They might be different values. People like sitting in all different parts of the stadium. That goes for all of our fans. There are people in the upper deck that you couldn't move from the upper deck with a crane and there are other people in the lower deck who could never even think of themselves sitting in the upper deck. It's a little different.”