As the new Gopher football season began last Saturday, students may have noticed they’re paying more for tickets.
The University athletics department has increased season ticket prices every year for at least the past five years.
In 2003, season tickets cost $40 for students and $199.50 for members of the public. Since then, the prices have increased by $30 and $50.50, respectively, according to University ticket office records.
University officials have said student ticket prices will not exceed 33 percent of what the general public pays.
But, student prices have been approaching that figure. In 2003, students paid 20 percent of the amount charged for public season tickets. This year students are paying 28 percent.
The price for season tickets has increased by $10 since last year.
The Gophers have played six home games every year since 2003, but this year students are also paying for a seventh game.
Associate athletics director Phil Esten said prices would continue to increase in order to stay competitive in the Big Ten Conference.
“A season ticket price increase that you see between now and 2009 isn’t necessarily caused by the new stadium. It’s a general inflationary increase in our prices,” Esten said. “If we want to be competitive, we need to have one of the highest revenues.”
Ticket prices are decided during the first quarter of each year during the athletics department’s budget process, Esten said.
Minnesota football season tickets costs remain below Big Ten universities with top football programs.
The increase in price comes with a new student fee for construction of TCF Bank Stadium.
Beginning this semester, students will pay an additional $12.50 fee per semester. The fee will be in effect for 25 years, Esten said.
This year, juniors and seniors will not have to pay the student fee. Only students still attending the University after the construction is complete will be subject to the fee, Esten said.
The student fee comes with some guarantees from the University. Part of the legislation that instituted the fee included a pledge to keep student season tickets affordable and at a cost no greater than 33 percent of the season ticket price for the public, Esten said.
The University has promised to save 20 percent of the seats in TCF Bank Stadium for students. Students will also have their own entrance and a plaza in the stadium, Esten said.
The fee for stadium construction was originally planned to cost students $50 per semester. The amount was later lowered when the state legislature offered to commit $137 million per year instead of the original pledge of $100 million per year, Esten said.
Danielle Kahl, a kinesiology junior, said she has been buying football season tickets for the past three years. If the price got too high, she said she would stop purchasing tickets.
“At $75 I would cut my tickets off,” Kahl said.
Kahl said she thinks the price for season tickets is rising too rapidly and the increase for an extra game would only be worth it to see the Gophers play a rival school.
Kahl said she doesn’t think students should be charged a fee for stadium construction. Since students are charged, she said she thought the best benefit that could be included would be free food.