$75 too much for end zone ticket to Wisconsin game

I wish I had started this blog a couple of weeks earlier because something that really bothered me was UNLV having the audacity to charge $75 for ALL single-game tickets to the season opener against Wisconsin. That $75 per ticket includes all seats in the end zone. That is more than a little strong.

Remember, this is UNLV football which has had only three winning seasons since 1990. This isn’t USC, Ohio State, Florida or Alabama.

The highly respected Dr. Wayne Pearson was one of the people along with Bill Ireland, the first Rebel football coach, and uber booster Bill “Wildcat” Morris, who did the most to start the Rebel football program. Pearson, the associate athletic director at the time, was the one who started the athletic scholarship program as well as being a force behind the “Grand 100 Club,” which provided most of the financing to begin the football program. He was also a key factor leading to the construction of Las Vegas Stadium, now named Sam Boyd Stadium. What did Pearson call UNLV’s decision to charge $75 for all seats. “Outrageous,” Pearson said. A perfect description.

OK, OK, before I go any further let me look at it from the UNLV perspective. Yes, it was Wisconsin, ranked No. 12 at the time. That is an outstanding, highly-ranked Big Ten team to come to Las Vegas. No question about it. Also, Wisconsin has a great band, for which I would pay extra for to go to the game. But guess what? The Wisconsin band didn’t come this year. Which was a bummer because I couldn’t go to their concerts during the week such as I have in years past at the Fremont Street Experience and in the parking lot behind the Las Vegas Hilton.

Also, almost all athletics departments are having budget problems and the Wisconsin game gave UNLV an opportunity to rake in some needed cash. Given that, I could hold still for a $75 ticket between the 20-yard-lines. Even for the whole sidelines seating to give UNLV the benefit of the doubt. The price of $75 would be a costly ticket even for the sidelines, but it does go to dear old UNLV. But it is the end zone seats that the $75 tickets that I think is totally excessive. Say a family of four wanted to go to the Rebel football opener, that’s $300 for tickets alone before parking and concessions. I say that’s WAY too steep for the average family. How about $45 (or less) for an end zone ticket even for Wisconsin? Give the Rebel faithful a break.

The announced crowd for the Wisconsin game by UNLV was 31,307. When Wisconsin comes to town it’s generally sellout or close. This year it was about 5,500 short of a sellout. A good crowd in general, but not for Wisconsin. Because of the recession, Wisconsin didn’t bring as many fans as usual. But on top of the recession locally, UNLV compounded the problem by charging an arm and a leg for tickets.

Yes, Nevada raised ticket prices for its game against California on Friday night. Reserved seats were $60, which is plenty to pay for the Wolf Pack. But Nevada did have the sense to also have general admission tickets for a more reasonable $30.

I can identify with UNLV. During my 37 years with the Las Vegas Review-Journal,  I covered the first Rebel spring football practice and the first Rebel football game in 1968 at old Cashman Field, which is in the same location as the present Cashman Field. I thought it was historic that I was in the lockerroom before that first game against St. Mary’s to hear the first Rebel pregame pep talk in history, which was emotionally and ably given by Ireland. For what it’s worth, I also covered the first Rebel baseball practice (Hartke Park in North Las Vegas) and the first Rebel baseball game in history.

I would like to hear comments from readers on this question. Please visit my new website at www.roycefeour.com  Do you think that $75 was too much for ALL tickets, including end zone seats,  to the UNLV-Wisconsin game? Or do you think the price was justified? Either way, please comment. I will keep track of the results and let you know. I will also print some comments both ways. Thank you. Please, just keep the comments clean.

I would like to thank Peter Poggione of Squeez Marketing for building my website. Poggione is outstanding in the fields of marketing and public relations.