UH sees drop in football ticket sales
By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer
The University of Hawai'i is bracing for a drop in season-ticket renewals for football, according to estimates provided by school officials.
UH, which sold about 25,000 season tickets last year, has received final payments for 18,750 season tickets for the coming school year. A computer malfunction last week hindered the processing of an undisclosed number of applications, a UH spokesman said.
He also said that 'Ahahui Koa Anuenue, the primary money-raising organization for the UH athletic department, is processing some renewals that are not included in the sales figures.
Renewals had to be postmarked by May 9.
UH officials said they were counting on premium fees on football and women's volleyball season tickets to add $400,000 in additional revenue and help ease the financial crunch on a program that had a $1.43 million budget shortfall last year and is expected to come up $1 million short in the current fiscal year that closes June 30.
UH athletic director Herman Frazier, through a spokesman, declined to comment until reviewing final season-ticket figures. But UH officials are preparing for non-renewal requests to exceed the usual average of 2 percent to 5 percent each year. In previous years, many non-renewals were traced to ticket-price increases or relocations.
Season-ticket renewals were expected to drop slightly following the recent increase in the "premium" fee. Last season, football season-ticket-holders paid $25 to $50 on top of the face value of a season ticket for a seat in a "premium" area at Aloha Stadium. In March, the school's Board of Regents approved a three-year plan to increase the premium fee to as much as $100 for the best football seats this season and up to $220 for the 2005 season.
The fee increase, athletic department officials told the regents, is needed to meet the rising annual cost of running the 19-sport program.
Even with the increased premium fee, a drop-off in football season tickets would hurt UH's bank account. The Warriors, who usually distribute more than 7,000 tickets in individual game and walk-up sales per home game, play seven regular-season games at Aloha Stadium this season, one fewer than last year.
This year, for the second consecutive season, UH fans have several options in following the Warriors. In addition to buying tickets on a season basis or by the individual game, the fans can subscribe to pay-per-view or watch the games on a same-night delayed TV.
UH officials hope to reduce the shortfall with sales to new season-ticket buyers. They also plan to call ticket-holders who did not renew. Those calls will be placed after the box office's computer system is upgraded next week.