Oct. 12, 2011
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — He’s not running for political office, but University of Iowa men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery will be taking his message directly to a constituency group that matters greatly to the UI men’s basketball program in the coming weeks.
McCaffery and/or members of his coaching staff will join members of the 2011-12 Iowa men’s basketball team on visits to the dining hall of Hillcrest on Thursday, Oct. 13, from 5:45 until 7 p.m., and the dining hall at Burge from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday, Oct. 17 and again on Monday, Oct. 24 in an effort to build additional support for the Hawkeyes among UI students.
“They were great a year ago and, like our team, we need them to be even better this year,” said McCaffery, who officially begins his second season as head coach of the Hawkeyes when the team stages an open-to-the-public practice from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“The student section in every arena in the country is the group of fans that provide the energy, the energy other fans feel and the energy the players feel. Our student section gave tremendous energy and enthusiasm a year ago and we want to build on that.”
Sales of season tickets to the general public and UI faculty and staff are up when compared to sales at this time a year ago. In fact, season ticket sales in those categories have surpassed last year’s end-of-season totals. However, sales to UI students are slightly behind last year’s pace.
Sales of season tickets to the general public and UI faculty and staff are up when compared to sales at this time a year ago (Oct. 11, 2010). In fact, season ticket sales in those categories have surpassed last year’s end-of-season totals. However, sales to UI students are slightly behind last year’s pace.
The UI Athletics Ticket Office currently has orders for men’s basketball season tickets from 1,558 current UI students. That number is about the same as sold one year ago. Iowa ended the 2010-11 season with 1,731 season tickets were purchased by UI students. That number – 1,731 – was Iowa’s highest total in eight seasons.
“Sales to students who don’t purchase during the summer months typically spike in mid-October and early November as the basketball season approaches. And, of course, that’s the reason why we’ve asked Fran to join us on campus…to give the students a chance to visit with their head coach, his staff and the Hawkeyes and to make it easy for the students to place their ticket order,” said Rick Klatt, the UI associate athletics director for external relations.
Student season tickets cost just $90 — $5 per game – and include free admission to Iowa’s Big Ten-ACC Challenge game against Clemson on Nov. 29 and the Hawkeyes’ game Feb. 1 against Big Ten Conference rival Minnesota. It’s a bargain, too, when one considers that a student who chooses not to buy a season ticket but wants to attend one game against a Big Ten opponent will pay $15 for that ticket if it’s available.
The UI Athletics Department has two goals for student season basketball ticket sales in 2011-12. The first is to sell the number of student season tickets the department used when it built its budget for the year. That number is 1,750 – a modest 19-ticket increase from a year ago.
The second goal is a more aggressive number: 2,077. If sales reach that goal, the UI would have realized a 20 percent increase year-over-year which would be the second 20 in the UI’s “20-20-20” plan.
“Three straight seasons of a 20 percent increase in average game attendance would put us right where we want to be, pushing 15,500 per game. Last year, we saw a nice jump in student ticket sales and that helped contribute to a 23 percent increase for the season, the largest in the country for a program that didn’t participate in a postseason tournament,” said Klatt.
Klatt said when it comes to students in the Arena, the more the merrier.
“There’s a reason why we ask our students to pay only $5 per game and get free admission to two games when they purchase a season ticket. We want to make it affordable to be loud, to be proud, and be the `Sixth Man’ that can give that extra boost to the Hawkeyes when it’s needed,” he said, noting that the student section is the section of the Arena that “creates the energy that makes the Arena come to life.”
“They realized a year ago that this basketball program was in pretty good hands. As they said when Fran was hired, `Fran is the Man.’ Fran and the staff have installed a pretty exciting brand of basketball and our students really enjoy that. They had fun last season and that’s the way it needs to be. They need to have fun and enjoy coming to the Arena and cheering the team. Now, of course, we want more of them to be a part of the fun.”