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The Daily Wildcat

 

    Enough is enough: No more price increases

    Michael Schwartz
    Michael Schwartz

    When you become a student at the UA, nothing is certain except that the men’s basketball team will make the NCAA Tournament and prices will increase across the board.

    Besides ever-climbing tuition hikes and a multitude of fees, now Arizona Athletics has gotten into the mix by increasing the total package of attending every UA sporting event from $112 last year to $224 this year, which amounts to a 71 percent increase when extra football and men’s basketball games are not taken into account.

    But you really can’t fault the athletics department on this one.

    Sure it’s too bad that season tickets for UA home events jumped from seventh in the conference to first, but the bottom line of college athletics has to do with the bottom line.

    Since the athletics department decided that the package was underpriced before, you really can’t blame them for pushing this plan.

    For many students at this school, the Zona Zoo pass is an inelastic good, and for a select group who don’t treat games as just a social event, so are basketball tickets.

    For those of you who haven’t taken economics 200, this means that the price increase won’t have a big affect on sales and will ultimately increase revenue, which has been the case thus far as sales have been about equal to last year at this point.

    Arizona Athletics really doesn’t give these students too much of a choice for those who will do pretty much anything for tickets. They just have to pay the increase.

    With upped travel expenses, the athletics department is facing a deficit in the coming years and it makes perfect financial sense for them to gain the approximately $1 million in extra revenue while guaranteeing the basketball student section is full by putting unsold tickets out on the open market.

    “”Sure it’s too bad that season tickets for UA home events jumped from seventh in the conference to first, but the bottom line of college athletics has to do with the bottom line.””

    (Which means if you don’t want to sit with the old people, you better buy up all the tickets.)

    If students have a problem with the price, which I’m sure many do, they have two options: (1) Don’t buy the pass, or (2) Tell the leaders at Zona Zoo and the athletics department what you think should happen next year.

    Since Zona Zoo should be a national top-10 student section, especially in basketball, the latter plan makes more sense.

    Zona Zoo and ASUA said they received feedback for making basketball tickets tougher to get. That could be true, but I doubt too many of them said, “”Please raises prices by 71 percent. That would really make Arizona Athletics better for us.””

    Students won’t have to get another job or take out a loan to buy the tickets, so the biggest problem is that nobody knows if this is one of those things that would been more palatable taken incrementally or if this is the first step in an incremental increase.

    The athletics department’s stance is that they will evaluate the situation later, so it’s imperative now to let Zona Zoo and its student leaders, particularly Zona Zoo director Michael Huston, know what you want.

    “”I will work as hard as I can to keep the Zona Zoo pass as affordable as possible,”” Huston said. “”If the widespread consensus is that it’s unfair and unacceptable for the price to go up, I’ll convey that viewpoint.””

    Huston plans on finding out what students think about everything from the program’s quality and the quality of the student section to the cost of the pass.

    The problem is that it’s not exactly a negotiation in which a mutually acceptable agreement must be reached because the athletics department ultimately controls the good in question, student season tickets.

    “”There’s certainly a difference between what we hope to see work and what we promise we will achieve, especially when it’s not something I have final authority on,”” Huston said.

    As much as Huston and Zona Zoo try to spin this as an “”increased benefits for an increased cost”” deal, there’s no way the pep rallies and tailgate-party improvements will get close to the approximately $1 million in revenue the increased prices will bring in.

    The truth is that with the shaky financial status of the athletics department, which laid off a number of employees in the past year to cut costs, they need this money to stay closer to the black by then. Since the alumni are paying out of their noses in price increases as well, the students were the next logical source.

    If Arizona Athletics plays its cards right, this is the last price increase for at least a couple years. Let the rest of the Pacific 10 Conference catch up before even thinking about another price hike, because if the students voice opposition to more price hikes, which they should, that demand will become more elastic as the price goes up.

    Yes, students should pay some of the increase, but this is enough.

    If Huston does what he says and gets a sufficient amount of student feedback this year, the athletics department would be smart to comply within reason.

    If not, it will have bigger problems on its hands than a budget crunch.


    Michael Schwartz is a journalism junior. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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