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Winners and losers from MU’s new season ticket prices

Marquette released the pricing for 2018-’19 season tickets on Thursday, an event that usually would not get coverage in Paint Touches or any other news outlet. But this was not your average ticket price reveal. With the move from the Bradley Center to the new Bucks arena, and the ensuing increase in rent prices, this was a very important event for the fiscal health of Marquette’s flagship program.

A survey from the athletic department circulated earlier this year set the scene for some potentially severe pricing increases, so I was very interested to see just how much of a that survey would be incorporated.

And after doing a bit of comparison, it could have been a lot worse. Below is a breakdown of the seating prices based on the old 2018 price, the actual 2019 price and the 3 price tiers previously surveyed.

Price options highlighted.JPG

Here’s a relatively quick breakdown of winners and losers.

Winners

Top rows

The big difference from in the new arena is that there are over 4,000 more lower bowl seats than in the Bradley Center, so Marquette handled the added inventory by discounting the rows furthest back from the action. If you sat in the last row at half court last year, that ticket ran you  $1,320 last year. If you wanted to stay in the last row in the new arena, you’d be getting that seat at a 16.7% discount, paying only $1,100 per seat. Yes the seats will be a bit further back now, but I doubt the view will be worse, so in terms of best bang for your buck, tough to beat that one.

Price changes.JPG

Taken all together, the 4 added “back row” tiers are being sold at a 5% discount. I think this is a good way to get people in the stadium right off the bat, and then use the experience to up-sell in the following years.

Upper deck sideline ticket holders

If you’re the type of person that like sitting near the front of the upper deck, you’re going to love the new pricing which gives you a 1.8% discount from last season’s prices at $550 a ticket. With the smaller upper decks, there are now fewer of these seats available, but I think these are going to be some of the most popular tickets when all is said and done.

Court-side seats

Plopping down $10k for one court-side seat is not done lightly, and is still a 13% increase from last season, but it was still a relatively mild uptick. With corporations and high rollers the only ones realistically in the market for these exclusive seats, I thought this would be the one place where we could see some big spikes. And then the added 2nd row of court-side seats at a 15% discount from last season makes it an obvious winner. (One caveat, I’m not positive the second row of court-side seats existed last year.)

Students

The students will now have all the seats in the lower bowl, getting the sections behind both basket without having to ship a majority upstairs. But… (see below)

Losers

Aisle Seats

There will now be a “tax”on aisle seats, with most of the non-top level sections adding about a 5% charge for aisle seats. It makes sense, as these seats are a premium in terms of ease of entry and leg space, but it is something that hadn’t been in place before. Sorry aislers. 

Premium Sideline Seats

I’m guessing most of the people in these sections have been season ticket holders for a long time, as these are prime, non extravagant seats. They are getting hit the hardest of all sections, with a whopping 70% increase, from $1,320 to $2,250. I’m guessing we’ll see a fair number of these people move up into the sideline – top tier level and get the discount rather than pay the extra 70%. It’s no doubt the seats may be worth it, particularly those in the TV frame, but the jump is the most drastic of all the section.  

Non-sideline Upper Decks

For those alums that don’t qualify for recent alum status or have enough points to get to the upper-deck sideline level, there will be decent increases of  20% for the corners and baseline. The prices overall are still reasonable, but for the income level that usually populates these areas, it will be quite a hit. 

All Tax-Filers

With the new tax law taking away the ability to deduct the season ticket mandatory donations, the actual price increase of all tickets requiring a donation will actually be more than the charts I have shown. Whereas before you could deduct 80% of that donation if you itemized deductions, that little cushion has now been removed just in time for the mandatory donation portion to increase significantly. Sorry. 

Students

… there was a significant price jump (41%) in student season tickets, and they are now the most expensive in the Big East.* 

*The big loophole here is that schools like Butler and Creighton take an activity fee directly from tuition, so all the students pay much more for tickets, though indirectly.  

The price per game is still a more than reasonable $7, so there is not even a small violin for them.

Overall, I think Marquette did well to not price out the fanbase, but I do expect these prices to jump again next year, particularly with the potential for a great top-20 product on paper. For now, it’s just a waiting game until November and December, where we’ll see what kind of impact the pricing had on attendance.  

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2 Comments on “Winners and losers from MU’s new season ticket prices”

  1. Matt
    May 12, 2018 at 12:22 pm #

    The student tickets are still $99. Difference is Marquette will no longer be paying for the arena $2 per game fee and tax. In the new lease Marquette has to pay the ticket fee if the students show up or not. At the Bradley Center, Marquette didn’t have to pay that fee when a student was a no-show. Yes, the students must come up with $140.

  2. Nosebleed Warrior
    May 13, 2018 at 9:04 pm #

    Good summary, but you have the actual pricing of the upper level seats incorrect in your last chart.

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