Despite price increase, no glitzy show for Iowa dual

Ticket prices were raised in anticipation of a halftime extravaganza Sunday.

by David McCoy

Minnesota’s wrestling team has a complaint with the University’s athletics department: changing the rules in the middle of the game.

Tickets for the important showdown between the top-ranked Gophers (12-0) and sixth-ranked Hawkeyes (6-3) at 2 p.m. Sunday at Williams Arena will cost an extra $10.

When ticket prices were set before the beginning of the season ” which started about two months ago ” the team was under the impression that a portion of the extra money would pay for an elaborate halftime show, featuring highlight videos, smoke, mirrors and a lights show, coach J Robinson said.

But about a month ago, administrators in the athletics department informed the team it would not be entitled to use any of the extra money to pay for the show.

That has the wrestlers seeing red. And it’s not from the colored lights.

“If we were told ahead of time that we wouldn’t do that, then we wouldn’t have raised the ticket prices,” Robinson said. “But we raised them based upon the premise that we would be able to reinvest. And it’s not a good deal for the fans.”

Robinson said he pitched the idea to the administration last year for the match versus Oklahoma State. But after they refused to agree to give the team the approximated $7,000 necessary to fund the show, plans to charge the extra $10 were dropped and the team paid for it out of its service fund ” money raised by the team, not part of the administration’s budget.

Athletics department associate director Liz Eull said the administration is simply sticking by its policy.

“They are to work with marketing and promotions to establish their halftime shows based on the budgets that we’ve established for those things,” Eull said. “We don’t take ticket revenue from an event and drive it into that particular event. Ticket revenue is part of the overall revenue of the department.”

That said, the team won’t be paying for the show out of its own pockets again, meaning fans won’t see what the ticket hikes were meant for.

“We just don’t have the money in our own budget to do it this year,” team marketing coordinator Luke Becker said.

Instead, Becker said the crowd will see a show that fits within the marketing department’s budget ” the University dance team and “Sundance,” a dog that performs tricks.

Nothing taken from those performers, but it’s not quite the same, Robinson said.

“It’s kind of sad because it’s the fan that’s kind of getting kind of a raw deal in this whole deal,” Robinson said. “The intent was to reinvest it in the show and the administration won’t let us do that. I kind of feel bad for the fans because that wasn’t the intent.”

Regardless of ticket price, Minnesota expects its largest crowd of the season Sunday.

The last time the two teams met at Williams Arena an announced 4,430 fans saw the match. More are expected this time around and the University figures to make somewhere around $45,000 extra on Sunday’s ticket sales.

Becker made it clear that the team did not want all of the money, only the approximated $7,000 needed.

“I think it’s B.S., personally,” junior heavyweight Cole Konrad said. “We’re going to bring in a big crowd for that dual no matter what the ticket price is. But, I mean, if you’re not going to help us out there, why even raise them? I don’t have anything positive to say, really.”