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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    No major changes for Zona Zoo

    Members of the Zona Zoo show their displeasure for in-state rival ASU during the 59-54 Sun Devil win in McKale Center Feb. 10. Zona Zoo is only working on minor adjustments to its ticket reservation policy for next year.
    Members of the Zona Zoo show their displeasure for in-state rival ASU during the 59-54 Sun Devil win in McKale Center Feb. 10. Zona Zoo is only working on minor adjustments to its ticket reservation policy for next year.

    The last two years at this time, Zona Zoo and the Arizona athletics department planned on wholesale changes for the upcoming year’s sports pass.

    This year, however, only minor adjustments need to be made, according to student government and athletics department officials.

    “”We’re not making any big-time significant changes or totally redoing anything,”” said Zona Zoo executive director David Roost. “”We’re kind of tightening the screws really is the way I would describe it.””

    Roost did not know if next year’s plan would include a price increase, but he lauded this past year’s plan for being the cheapest all-inclusive sports pass in the Pacific 10 Conference after being the most expensive the year before. It cost students $95 to attend all games this year and $192 the year before, a decrease of 51 percent.

    Still, the pivotal issue once again revolves around how to get students to consistently attend basketball games.

    “”Unfortunately, it has been the last couple years, ‘How do we fill up that Zona Zoo section?'”” said UA marketing director James Francis. “”It’s a matter of that question being posed for all the games, not a handful. There’s times when it’s not full. (What) do we change?””

    Added ASUA President Tommy Bruce: “”We need to make it full at all times.””

    Strides have been made as Roost said students reserved an average of about 75 percent of the section last year after selling out about 50 percent the year before, an increase of 50 percent.

    The basketball ticket package has seen constant change, from having a lottery for the chance to purchase two season tickets for half the season, to a lottery for one ticket for the whole season, to paying $10 per game on an individual game basis to paying an extra $35 this year for basketball season tickets on top of $60 for football season tickets.

    Francis and other members of the athletics department have been meeting with Bruce and Roost, both of whom will return next year, to focus on “”the basic structure”” of the new plan, Francis said.

    “”We’re designing the policy for year six,”” Roost said. “”We have had five chances to figure out how we want to do it, and I think it took us about maybe four until we got it really close to perfect. I think right now it’s pretty good.””

    Bruce added it would be a “”similar system”” in which no seats will be taken away, but they’re still figuring out how best to work the basketball ticket reservation system, particularly to create a flexible system to allow students to cancel tickets if they realize they cannot go, which then would go back into the system for other fans.

    “”Last year in ’06-07 people didn’t know about the policy, so getting people to reserve or purchase was the obstacle. This year people figured it out,”” Roost said. “”I think it’s the most fair system, and so the next step is once people reserve, how do we make sure people reserve and if they don’t go what do we do about it? That’s kind of the balance we’re trying to find.””

    Bruce said Zona Zoo is also working on emphasizing the sports besides football and men’s basketball and is considering an awards program that gives students points for attending events like a Gymcats meet or Bear Down Fridays. The details are still being hashed out, but students could win prizes such as a cell phone for attending numerous events.

    “”The key thing that we’re trying to emphasize is finding a way to encourage students to support all the Olympic sports and all the sports in general and also to give students rewards for being good fans,”” Roost said.

    Another difference this year was a revenue sharing plan in which Zona Zoo received $3 for every pass it sold. Zona Zoo sold 12,162 passes, good for $36,486.

    The extra money went toward improving Bear Down Fridays, affording tailgates before every home football game instead of just twice per year, giving out promotional material like rally towels, providing pizza nights for the non-revenue sports and hosting one football road trip.

    Bruce, who expected Zona Zoo to put on four road trips this year instead of just the ASU football trip, said more could not be done in that area because no realistic basketball trips fell on a day Zona Zoo could do it, and an issue with a bus company caused the cancellation of a planned USC road trip.

    “”It just turned out where the convenient games all just fell on really bad weekends and that’s just something we don’t have very much control over,”” Roost said. “”We want students to know that’s not something we said, ‘Forget it, we’re lazy.’ We’ll have to make it up next year.””

    Zona Zoo has until June 30 to use the money in its account, which Bruce said would go toward computers and other technology needed as the program starts up Zona Zoo TV in earnest next year.

    Being that this is a budget deficit year, any money in a university account at the end of the fiscal year will no longer be accessible by the department, which will be the case with any leftover Zona Zoo money. Bruce said that “”won’t be a big deal”” because he does not estimate having more than $25 left at the end of the year.

    If this were not a deficit year, remaining money would go into an ASUA rollover account, which would then be returned to Zona Zoo the next year.

    “”The money all goes back into the program,”” Bruce said. “”It’s designed to go into the program, and that’s where we plan on putting it.””

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