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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Zona Zoo revamps program

    Zona Zoo fans cheer on the basketball team as it plays against California on Jan. 21. This year students can purchase Zona Zoo passes for $60, which includes admission to six football games.
    Zona Zoo fans cheer on the basketball team as it plays against California on Jan. 21. This year students can purchase Zona Zoo passes for $60, which includes admission to six football games.

    Red Out Attack

    Imagine an entire section of the stadium covered in red, some bodies and faces painted, keys dangling and even a couple “”ASU sucks!”” chants mixed in.

    That’s what Zona Zoo officials envision happening at football and basketball (and possibly even baseball and softball) stadiums near you.

    “”Students have to wear red this year. Every game, every sport, every night wear your red colors,”” said Michael Huston, incoming spirit director and head of Zona Zoo. “”It’s the best way to show support for your team. There’s nothing cooler for a coach and players to see an absolute sea of nothing but red.””

    Students can become members of Zona Zoo, Arizona’s official student section, by buying a Zona Zoo pass for $60, not including an extra $10 charge for the ASU football game, in person at the McKale Ticket Office, online at or by phone at (520) 621-CATS.

    The pass gets students into all athletic events except men’s basketball games and includes a free Zona Zoo T-shirt. It also gives members the chance to purchase men’s basketball tickets online the Monday before the week’s game at 6 a.m. for $11 each or at the McKale ticket office for $10, instead of the lottery system used in the past.

    If the pass, ASU game and all men’s basketball online tickets are bought, it will cost $213. Last year, with one less basketball game and football game, the total package cost $112, so without taking those extra games into account (making it $192), the price rose 71.4 percent.

    “”It’s hard because not every school does it the same way,”” Huston said. “”A lot (of schools) can buy a football pass and basketball extension. The total cost of every event, what you get total, it’s in the middle (of the conference).””

    In Huston’s first year in charge of Zona Zoo, he plans on expanding its programming. That will be accomplished with the help of the newly-created Zona Zoo Crew, which has chairs focusing on programming, promotions and the major sports, among other things.

    When Huston applied for the position, one of the things he mentioned was that he wants to improve the quality of the programs with any price increase.

    This year, that means there are going to be football trips (one to UCLA is in the works), tailgates – including a session called “”Traditions 101″” to teach freshmen about Arizona’s athletic history and how to cheer at games – pep rallies before home football games and entertainment when fans line up early to get the best seats for men’s basketball games.

    “”Zona Zoo has a really strong foundation,”” Huston said. “”We’re in a position to really blow it up and take it off to new heights.””

    While “”College Nights,”” an event in which attendance is free with a CatCard and pizza is often given away, will be back for every sport, Zona Zoo is devising new ways to get more students to show up at sparsely-attended sporting events, which includes those other than football and men’s basketball.

    “”You should want to go to games,”” said Mike Biegelman, the Zona Zoo promotions chair. “”What we’re starting this year is the future foundation of Arizona Athletics, a revival of all sports that hopefully continues for years to come.””

    As far as football and men’s basketball goes, Biegelman has been a leader of a group of students who paint their bodies and lead the student section in cheers the past few years from the front row of Arizona Stadium and McKale Center.

    “”For me, it’s the best thing in the world,”” Biegelman said. “”I bleed cardinal red and navy blue, and I hope that others feel the same way. It’s important to show school pride in a way that everyone else can see it. (But) the most important thing is that our teams win.””

    Biegelman’s group often includes biology sophomore Garrett Patterson, who also paints his body and goes crazy in the front row during games.

    “”That’s what we look forward to,”” Patterson said. “”That’s why I wanted to go to college – obviously for education – but I looked forward to going to college because of all the sports. It makes the whole college experience more fun. If you can’t be one of the guys playing, (it’s good to be) sitting there with them when they do good.””

    As Zona Zoo welcomes its fifth freshman class, Huston and the crew hope to make the Zona Zoo into the best student section in the nation.

    “”Zona Zoo really is a way of life,”” Huston said. “”With the expansion of program opportunities to attend games, we really want students to feel Zona Zoo is something like a culture they’re a part of.””

    Just remember to wear red.

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