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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Zona Zoo done tweaking system after price increase

    Luckily for the incoming class of freshmen, Zona Zoo has finally overcome its initial growing pains.

    The UA’s official student-run fan section will endure only minor tweaks from last season – unlike its previous five years of constant modifications.

    Like last year’s system, students will receive two options when purchasing a pass: the all-inclusive “”Red pass”” for $105, which gives students admission to every home event for all teams; or the “”Blue pass”” for $70, which includes everything except men’s basketball games.

    Both passes increased $10 from last season – they are still the cheapest in the Pacific 10 Conference – to directly reflect the additional seventh home football game this year, said ASUA President Tommy Bruce.

    “”The all-inclusive pass is the right path for basketball, football and all the other sports,”” Bruce said. Previously, Zona Zoo overhauled its system each year since debuting in 2002, due primarily to finding a fair way to fill men’s basketball games.

    The McKale Center hosts a more limited student section – 2,900 seats behind the north basketball hoop – compared to Arizona Stadium – 10,000 seats along an entire football field sideline, the Pac-10’s largest. Last year, Zona Zoo sold 12,162 passes.

    In previous years, Zona Zoo has attempted numerous methods, from a lottery system to purchasing individual tickets, in effort to accommodate all members seeking tickets to men’s basketball games.

    The success of last year’s all-inclusive men’s basketball package, which allows students to reserve seats online, gave Bruce positive feedback, resulting in minor tweaks in this year’s system.

    “”We really got something that worked last year – students could just go online and reserve their seats,”” Bruce said. “”We saw a drastic increase of attendance and the accessibility, more students being able to utilize their Zona Zoo membership to the best of their ability.””

    Due to the high-volume online traffic when men’s basketball tickets became available, computer glitches sometimes delayed ticket reservation last year.

    To ensure a full section, Zona Zoo implemented a three-strike policy for students who reserve men’s basketball tickets but fail to attend the game.

    Bruce plans to fix those computer glitches, while also improving communication of the penalty system for students who don’t fulfill their reservations.

    “”Every year since the first year we have changed the way we’ve done the process before, most specifically men’s basketball,”” Bruce said. “”Everyone really liked how we changed basketball last year. The attendance really went up because it was easier to go to.””

    Men’s basketball games sold out about 75 percent of games last year, a jump from 50 percent in the 2006-07 season.

    “”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,”” said Zona Zoo president David Roost in an interview with the Arizona Summer Wildcat. “”I think right now it’s pretty good.””

    Last year’s incidents won’t affect this season

    Although Zona Zoo endured three isolated incidents last season, Bruce doesn’t believe in punishing the system for individual student issues. Rather, Bruce believes a proactive approach will prepare students to better behave at high-profile events.

    On the Feb. 16 men’s basketball game against then-No. 7 Stanford, ABC’s national television audience heard Zona Zoo chanting, “”Fuck the refs!”” on two separate occasions.

    Then just weeks later on Feb. 28, an ESPN-televised game against USC ended with a Zona Zoo member throwing a water bottle at Trojan head coach Tim Floyd.

    “”I don’t necessarily believe in trying to threaten the students or tell them, ‘Hey, you better watch your behavior – we’re going to videotape you,'”” Bruce said. “”Really, the point is to try and be proactive in the sense of providing the best possible in-game atmosphere, whether it’s football, basketball or any sporting event.

    “”No matter what happens in the game, we’re still positive supporting fans,”” he added. “”There’s certain things you can’t get around … but we can try and make sure we have an infrastructure to make things positive. If we have a similar water bottle incident that’s completely out of line, we won’t support that or condone that by any means.””

    Zona Zoo to launch television show, offer road trips

    With the first football home game only weeks away – Aug. 30 – Zona Zoo still plans on finalizing projects set to launch this year.

    Coming this August, Zona Zoo will expand its media and communications department and launch Zona Zoo TV, a series of online videos slated to interview fans, coaches, athletes and cover different events, like Bear Down Fridays – events held prior to football games on Main Gate Square.

    Bruce also said four road trips – two football, two basketball – are still in the works, based on both the academic and team schedules.

    “”Wear red and get ready for the experience of a lifetime,”” Bruce said.

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