Athletic Management, 16.4, June/July 2004, http://www.momentummedia.com/articles/am/am1604/wuasutickets.htm
When Arizona State University football players looked up into the stands during home games last year, they saw on average one out of every four seats unoccupied. In 2004, ASU’s athletic department is trying to change that by offering tickets at a more attractive price than ever before—free.
During the offseason, Arizona State football season ticket holders were told that if they renewed their seats by early April, they would be given two additional season tickets at no charge. Almost 80 percent of season ticket holders took advantage of the offer.
"We view it as an innovative way to attract some new people to test our product," says Senior Associate Athletic Director Tom Collins. "If they have a good time and our football team performs well, they will want to come back."
The benefits for ASU go beyond increased exposure for the football program. Early season-ticket renewals help the athletic department with its budget planning, and larger home crowds mean increased game-day revenue. "If we get a full stadium for our games, we have the chance to sell more concessions and souvenirs," Collins says.
The program also provides Arizona State athletics a chance to reach out to the community. Fans who renewed their seats but didn’t want the additional tickets could donate them back to the athletic department. "We are giving all the donated tickets to charity organizations in the Tempe area," says Collins, "and they will go to underprivileged kids who wouldn’t normally be able to see a Sun Devils football game."
In addition to the free season ticket program, ASU is boosting attendance through other promotions. Last season, it created a seating section called Koetter’s Korner, named for head coach Dirk Koetter. Tickets to the special section went on sale the Monday before each home game for $5 apiece, less than a third of the regular price. Koetter’s Korner sold out for every game last year and will double in size from 500 to 1,000 seats this season. And for students, ASU offers a season ticket package that bundles football tickets together with men’s basketball tickets for just $75, less than $4 per game.