COLUMBIA — Beginning this fall, MU athletes should notice an increase in student fans at MU sporting events. A sea of black and gold, a heightened intensity and a menacing atmosphere emerging from the student sections could lead to more victories for the Tigers. At least, that’s what the MU athletics department’s hoping for.
Thanks to a new ticket plan, students will be able to attend several sporting events in a different way — free.
BIG 12 NORTH STUDENT TICKET PRICING
Missouri Season Ticket Combo: $220 Football only: $130
Kansas State ICAT Combo: $265 to $295 Football only: $143 to $173
Kansas All-Sports Combo: $150 Football only: $45
Nebraska No combo available Football only: $173 Colorado CU Sports Pass: $124 Football only: $103
Iowa State All Sports Pass: $198 (early purchase discount) $250 (regular price) Football only: $99 (early purchase discount) $125 (regular price)
Sources: Big 12 North Athletic Web sites and ticket offices
The athletics department will offer free admission for students with a valid ID to soccer, volleyball, gymnastics, wrestling, women’s basketball, track and field, swimming and diving, baseball, softball, tennis and golf.
The idea behind allowing all students to attend these sports at no cost is to create a better home-field advantage, said Whit Babcock, senior associate athletics director for external operations. By making it as easy as possible for students to attend these games, the hope is that less-attended sporting events will see a surge of student fans.
“We just thought it was a better way to do business and increase attendance,” he said. “The student group is how we get a more intimidating place to play. So if we can get more of them in, and they don’t have to pay, we feel like that helps our teams, too.”
Babcock said there will be no additional student fees or hidden charges, just free admission to what the athletics department refers to as the “Olympic sports.”
Students will still have the option to purchase Missouri football and men’s basketball season tickets through a new Student Season Ticket Combo, which replaces the All-Sports Pass. According to MU’s official athletics Web site, “the Student Season Ticket Combo will include season tickets to all Mizzou football and men’s basketball home games played in Columbia.”
Full-time MU students registered for the fall 2008 semester are eligible to purchase the new Student Season Ticket Combo. The cost of $220 is an increase from last year’s cost of $200, but Babcock said it is the first increase in six years.
“There are approximately 20 games that the Student Season Ticket Combo gets you into,” he said. “So we just went up $1 a game to get the $20.”
This will be the first year student tickets will be available for purchase online. Andrew Grinch, director of marketing for MU athletics, said students were required to fill out paper order forms to purchase All-Sports passes in the past.
“There were huge long lines at the ticket office because (students) had to come in person to do all that,” Grinch said. “So that’s what we’re trying to alleviate.”
Grinch added that there are many benefits of becoming a Student Season Ticket Combo holder, including having first priority to purchase bowl game tickets.
“You’re on the front line of any student offers,” he said.
Student Season Ticket Combo holders will also have the opportunity to purchase away-game tickets. A limited number will be made available to the Nebraska, Texas, Illinois and Kansas football games. Tickets to these games will go on sale July 17, with the exception of the Kansas game, which will go on sale at a later date.
Around 7,200 All-Sports Passes were sold last year. But after a 12-win football season, Big 12 North and Cotton Bowl championships, and a No. 4 finish in the AP Poll, Babcock said he is optimistic that sales of the new Student Season Ticket Combo will surpass that of the All-Sports Pass.
“There’s more enthusiasm for the football program,” he said. “Just the excitement about Missouri football is the biggest reason we expect it to go up. Our goal is to get that 7,200 number up to 10,000.”
Students not interested in purchasing a Student Season Ticket Combo may purchase a football-only season ticket for $130 based on availability. Last year, an additional 1,800 football-only season tickets were sold in addition to the 7,200 All-Sports Passes, Grinch said. This year, he said there is a good chance the football-only option might not be available because of the anticipated increase in sales.
MU’s new student ticket plan is in line with pricing for other athletic departments in the Big 12 North. Generally, free admission to sports other than football and men’s basketball with a valid student ID is standard throughout the Big 12 North, with the exception of Iowa State and Nebraska.
Iowa State students who purchase football and men’s basketball season tickets receive free admission to other sporting events. Otherwise, students have to purchase a $30 pass to attend sports other than football and men’s basketball.
Nebraska charges $5 for single-game volleyball student tickets, but all other Olympic sports are free with a student ID.