Premium seat holders offered discount options

The athletics department estimates a total loss of $1 million to $2 million.

Folks enjoying the game from premium seats at TCF Bank Stadium wonâÄôt get booze, but they now have the option of getting back a pretty penny. The University of MinnesotaâÄôs athletics department is offering premium seat ticket holders various refund and price discount options to compensate for the loss of alcohol. The refunds and loss of alcohol revenue will result in an estimated loss of $1 million to $2 million per year. The options vary depending on the section in which a person has a seat. People in private suites , loge boxes and outdoor club seats can choose either a 10 percent reduction in the price of their seat each year or a $50 food and beverage voucher per seat, per game, each year for the life of their contract. Those in indoor club seats get a 25 percent discount each year for the life of their contract. The voucher isnâÄôt an option because food and beverages are already included in the price. Associate Athletics Director David Crum said the athletics department discussed options with University President Bob Bruininks and received feedback from premium seat holders before making a final decision and notifying them of their options last week. âÄúWeâÄôre trying to make the best scenario of the situation that was dealt to us,âÄù he said. âÄúThe key for us is to retain as many of our premium seat holders as possible.âÄù Athletics Director Joel Maturi said these options donâÄôt apply to Williams or Mariucci arenas because the suites and lofts are sold by Gopher Sports Properties, and their decision hasnâÄôt been finalized, but he said similar discount options will likely be offered. The estimated $1 million to $2 million loss per year is derived from the combined loss of profits from alcohol sales and price reductions for premium seats in the three venues, Maturi said All 1,250 outdoor club seats and 54 loge boxes are sold out, Crum said. As of early July, seven of the 37 suites remain, and 151 of the 251 indoor club seats are unsold. With the 10 percent discount, outdoor club seat holders will see a $180 reduction in their $1,800 seat âÄî unless they choose the food voucher. Also with that discount, each $45,000 suite would be reduced by $4,500, four-person loge boxes by $1,000 and six-person boxes by $1,500. Those with indoor club seats will get $750 back from their $3,000 seat with the 25 percent discount. âÄúWeâÄôve got to find a way to increase our revenues,âÄù Maturi said. âÄúWhether this will have an impact on selling the final suites or indoor club seats remains to be seen.âÄù Not all premium seat holders want the discount, however. Melinda Cotton , who has a seat in the outdoor club, said she wasnâÄôt buying the tickets for alcohol, so the discount isnâÄôt a big issue. âÄúI hope that [other premium seat holders] bought the tickets to go to the game, regardless of if thereâÄôs alcohol or not,âÄù she said. She said sheâÄôll donate the 10 percent refund to the Golden Gopher Fund to support the UniversityâÄôs intercollegiate athletics. Maturi said reactions from premium seat holders varied after the University decided to go alcohol-free, but since the incentives were offered, he has received positive responses and support. Both Maturi and Crum said they hope premium seat holders will keep their seats and the new policy wonâÄôt reduce the excitement of game days. âÄúThe bottom line is we donâÄôt want to take away from the opening on Sept. 12,âÄù Crum said. âÄúWe donâÄôt want to minimize the celebration of coming back to campus.âÄù