Although Colorado has struggled to put a consistent winning product on the football field, the need for more revenue continues to grow.
CU is raising football season ticket prices for the 2019 season, despite coming off back-to-back 5-7 years and producing just one winning season since 2005.
“It’s always a tough decision,” athletic director Rick George said. “Any time you raise ticket prices, people aren’t going to be happy, so I get it. But, this is what we feel like we have to do to continue to make this program what we need it to be.”
Season ticket prices are increasing in the range of $26 to $75 per ticket. That amounts to anywhere from $3.71 to $10.71 per game, depending on where the tickets are located. On average, season ticket prices are increasing by 7.8 percent, excluding student seating.
This is just the second increase since George was hired as athletic director in the summer of 2013, as last year the prices were raised by an average of 2.86 percent.
CU is offering a loyalty discount to those who renew their season tickets from last year. The renewal deadline is Feb. 15.
Despite the overall increase, the cheapest season ticket price of $225 is actually less than 10 years ago. In 2009, the cheapest season ticket was $235.
After firing former head coach Mike MacIntyre in November, CU may have to pay him as much as $10.3 million over the next three years (a settlement has yet to be reached). George said the ticket increase was not in response to that, however.
“We made this decision long before we made the decision to let Mike go,” he said.
The decision was made because of the overall rising costs of doing business in college football, and athletics in general. CU, and other schools, are seeking ways to generate more revenue, and the Buffs are hoping they can capitalize on one of their most attractive home game schedules in years next fall.
This year’s season ticket package includes seven games — six at Folsom Field and the Colorado State game in Denver. Nebraska and Air Force are coming to Folsom Field for non-conference games, while Pac-12 foes Arizona, Stanford, Southern California and Washington are also coming to Boulder.
CU and Air Force will be playing for the first time since 1974, with the Falcons making their first trip to Boulder since 1973. Nebraska will be in Boulder for the first time since 2009.
George recognizes the need to get more people into the stadium and believes the attractive schedule and excitement for new head coach Mel Tucker will get more fans to Folsom Field.
“We need to get more people in here,” he said. “We don’t have enough people in our stadium. We don’t think price increases are a deterrent on that. We feel like our prices are what they should be and we hope people will continue to support us. We’ve got to get a lot more fans than we currently have.”
In an effort to get more people to the games, George said the athletic department will continue to strive for creating a better game day atmosphere for the fans.
Of course, the scoreboard matters, too.
“At the end of the day, yes, we have to win,” he said.
Tucker has been on the job less than two months, but George said he “couldn’t be happier” with what he’s seen from the former Georgia defensive coordinator and first-time head coach.
“He hit the ground running and I’m really pleased with where he’s at with recruiting,” George said. “I’m really pleased with where we are right now.”
George praised Tucker’s hiring of assistant strength and conditioning coach Luke Day and recruiting director Cymone George, among other staffing moves.
George is also pleased to see Tucker’s efforts and aggressiveness in recruiting.
“He’s going to go after the very best, whether they’re a two-star or five-star,” he said. “He’s going to go after the very best players in the country. He recruits 24/7.”
CU had hoped to keep director of football academics Katie Bason on staff, but she elected to leave the program earlier this month. George said CU is not planning to replace her at this time, as senior associate athletic director Kris Livingston and her staff will continue to oversee academic support services throughout the athletic department. “She does a great job,” George said.