Football ticket prices going up

Cost of football season tickets for each of the 12 SEC
schools in 2008, not including any minimum donations
required to purchase tickets.

Cost of football season tickets for each of the 12 SEC schools in 2008, not including any minimum donations required to purchase tickets.

The University of Tennessee announced a 6.4 percent increase in the price of football season tickets Monday, an effort to generate an additional $1.95 million needed to offset rising athletic department expenses.

Prices will increase $19 to a total of $315, a rise of $2.71 per ticket for each of UT's seven home games in 2008. Fans with chairback seats will pay an additional $3 per ticket.

According to Mike Hamilton, men's athletic director, taxes account for about $40 of the $315 total for each season ticket.

"It's not easy to make the decision to change ticket prices and make the fans pay more, particularly in a time where there's a supposed recession going on in the country," Hamilton said. "At the same time, our fans have a certain level of expectation - I'm not talking about just football; I'm talking about all sports - that we're going to perform at a certain level, and that comes with a cost we have to self-generate."

Rising costs for student-athlete scholarships, travel and operating expenses led to the price increase, said Hamilton, who has decreased the men's $22.88 million operating budget by $1.18 million since becoming athletic director in 2003.

Another factor is an anticipated rise in nonoperational expenses, namely coaching salaries. Both the men's basketball and football coaching staffs will receive salary increases this year.

The extra $1.95 million generated by the ticket increase will help fund all 20 men's and women's sports on campus and allow UT to remain one of fewer than 10 athletic programs nationally that does not receive state or university funds.

According to athletic department figures, Tennessee football ticket prices are tied with Arkansas as the fifth-most expensive in the SEC.

Alabama has the most expensive season tickets at $355, followed by Auburn at $350. However those prices do not include any required donations for the right to purchase tickets.

"Our net price per seat, per ticket holder is further down (than fifth) in the league," Hamilton said.

For example, Florida will charge only $224 this season, but it requires a minimum donation of $2,500 to purchase a pair of tickets.

Tennessee, meanwhile, requires a minimum $500 annual donation for a pair of seats, and only about 29,500 of the 102,037 seats in Neyland Stadium are tied to an athletic gift.

Twenty-two percent of season tickets are grandfathered and do not require an annual donation. Another 15 percent of seats are available through the Tennessee Alumni Association, which allows donors to purchase season tickets in exchange for a minimum gift to the university or a specific academic program.

According to Hamilton, Tennessee is the only SEC school that gives its alumni association tickets for academic fundraising purposes.

Those factors made raising ticket prices the most equitable way to generate the needed revenue, Hamilton said.

"We only have 29 percent of our tickets that are tied to athletic donations in the stadium, which is a pretty low number compared to our peers," Hamilton said.

By raising minimum donations, "you're only addressing 29 percent of the people. This way, the revenue production is spread over a lot more people," he said.

This year, South Carolina and Kentucky both increased the minimum donation required to purchase football tickets.

In January, LSU announced an increase of $5 per ticket and a $150 increase in the minimum donation needed to purchase tickets. By 2010, the required donation to purchase season tickets at LSU will have will have risen from $500 to $950.

Initially, Hamilton thought Tennessee would need to increase ticket prices by much more than $19.

"We're happy we landed where we did," Hamilton said. "Through a lot of meetings and a lot of discussions, we ended up at the $19. You never like increasing ticket prices, but if there is such a thing, I think it was a fair ticket price increase."

Additionally, UT will charge faculty and staff 80 percent of the normal ticket price, as opposed to 50 percent in previous years, in order to meet IRS benefit guidelines.

UT last increased the price of football season tickets in 2006. Prior to that, the last increase came in 2001.

Drew Edwards covers University of Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2008, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2008 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 107

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Hopefully, part of this will go to build a new trophy case.

Silent_Fulmer writes:

Hamilton blames the fans for losing last season and then raises the price to watch Mistro Phil Fulmer bring home another 10-4 season at best.

"Tennessee’s new ticket price is ties the school with Arkansas for fifth most expensive in the SEC."

I know this is wrong, Arkansas is $35 a ticket.

superk#226173 writes:

This is Pearls pay increase. Read twixt the lines.

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

10 years and counting with no SEC title, yet we've raised prices at least 3-4 times since we last hoisted an SEC trophy.

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

If this increase goes to Pearl's new contract (and it should), than I am all for it.

Silent_Fulmer writes:

so ticket prices were raised 6.4%

$45 minus $2.71= $42.29


This # is well above an inflation rate. What are the fans going to get in return besides getting to watch Mistro Phil Fulmer go 10-4 at best?

utvolz#637682 writes:

Anyone know what the miminum "donation" amount is to VASF?

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

I am sure this is how Fulmer is handling the increased food costs for his Texas Roadhouse restaurants that he owns in the Knoxville area(who coincindentally just happens to be a food vendor in Neyland stadium as well).

Silent_Fulmer writes:

Posted by superk on March 31, 2008 at 12:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This is Pearls pay increase. Read twixt the lines.

If you think the Big Orange Hamilton Club will not raise the cost of basketball tickets as well pass me some of that Orange kool-aid you just brewed.

gotvols writes:

Looks like it will be another year of watching the games from the couch at home....

jweaver3#395614 writes:

To recruit world class athletes? I hope the raise is to ensure a top 10 recruiting class in football next year. Do we get a refund for last years recruiting class?

superk#226173 writes:

To the Fulmer bashers: When was the last time UT got smoked when they were the heavy favorites going into a tournament?

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

When was the last time we won an SEC title in football? Jerry Green has a more recent SEC title than Fulmer (even though it was shared). By my count, that's 2 Bball titles since we last won one in football.

invisiblekid writes:

Times are tough all over. Think I'll get the lawn chair out and enjoy the fireworks on here.

superk#226173 writes:

Hmmm. according to this season, this was the first outright bb champioship since 1967.I may be wrong but I think we have at least 1 football championship since then. By the way, the last tournamnet champioship was in 1979,the first year the SEC reinstated the conference tourney. And besides, ties are about the same as even getting to the champioship.

avmcallester#252781 writes:

Also we were a 3 point underdog vs UL. It helps to know the facts. Hamilton sucks!!!!!!!!!!!! Hear it hear first 8-4 this year!!!!!!!!!!!

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

Nopee....Jerry Green's 2000-2001 teams was credited with an SEC title. Go look at the records books. The SEC regular season champion is credited as THE SEC champion. We shared it in 00-01 and won it ourtight this past year. The team got SEC championship rings and the banner and trophy says SEC champs. On the other hand, winning the East gets you zero trophies from the SEC. Ties are not the same as getting to the championship. Sorry:

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

Funny, how I see zero SEC championships listed since 1998:

newtonrail writes:

As a Season Ticket holder on fixed income, I know it's a matter of time until I A) Either can't afford BB and FB Season tickets, or B) Get too decrepit to make the 85 mile drive. I'm sure I'm like a lot of Vol fans who integrate visits to parents and other family with ball games. I know they need money under Title IX, but I wish more was going to Stadium upkeep. Prior to going to UT, I sold Hot Dogs, Programs, etc. to get into the games in the 50's. To do that we covered the "bowels" of old Neyland Stadium, and folks it "Ain't " changed. My seats are in Q, and the same Towel dispenser hasn't worked in the last 8 0r 9 years. I know the Grand plans for upgrading the bathrooms etc, but unless we have a rich donor underwrite it; I'm wondering if it will really happen. Now that I'm through venting, at least UTAD will have enough to buy gas for the giant 4 wheelers that Coach Fulmer and I guess others tool around campus on.

kepvol writes:

Ticket prices keep going up while the product on the field remains the same or goes downhill. Something doesn't add up.

Brama writes:

Is this to pay for Bruce Pearl's Raise that he will get after this yr?

dfreeman writes:

Wow, this is going to be another 1000 post hate driven topic that ends with half wanting Fulmer fired and half wanting the other half to cheer for another team!! Let me get my popcorn ready!! This could be fun reading!!

superk#226173 writes:

Yes, it will supplement Pearl and his staff. I hope UT don't do like Auburn has done for their coaches over the years, get on the bandwagon and give away the whole store only to find out that this is as good as it will get.Tell, me workinglikeheck, why is the KNS and the AJC and ESPN not recognizing Jerry Green and his championships? I actually thought that Mears won an outright championship in the late 70's ( was it shared, I don't recall) All I'm saying is Fulmer has won champioship(s) And down here in Bulldog country they sure did put alot of empasis on "sharing" the East title this year even though UT drilled them. They also claim the SEC championship in bb since they won the tourney.Just a thought.

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

superk, why are you asking me? They are the ones reporting "1st outright title since 1967" which is technically true and it probably sells more papers that way and is more dramatic.

I am just reporting facts and teling you how they are officially recognized by the SEC office. It's common knowledge that the Regular season basketball champion is THE SEC champion and gets therefore gets the SEC championship trophy. UGA fans obviously don't know this so I would inform them. You can't get on them too much about sharing the SEC East this year as we actually claimed the same when we tied them a few years ago when they drilled us.

superk#226173 writes:

Ok, I'll do that then.

rockyknox writes:

A nice plasma TV looks even more affordable.

LargeOrange writes:

utvolz - Here is a link to the VASF.
The problem is that if you are a new donor and not a current season ticket holder, you have to make your donation and there is no guarantee that you will get any season tickets. There are only so many that come available each year and the highest donations from new donors get the priority of course. If you give the minimum and they run out of available season tickets before they get to you, then you get no tickets, but a nice letter thanking you for the donation. If you do get season tickets you have to make that same or more of a donation each year to keep them, miss one year you go to the back of the line all over again. I have been giving every year since 1986 and had the same 6 seats during that time but my parking priority has gotten worse every year. In the eighty's thru the mid-nineties we had two parking passes in lot 9, right across the street from the West side gates. I continued to give the same or more each and every year, but something happened in the late 90's that ruined the perfect tailgate spot. That darn Fulmer went and won back to back SEC championships and a NC and all of the sudden we get kicked to G10 (parking garage in the end zone) for a few years, and then G4 up the hill and on the other side of TBA, then now we are across Cumberland Ave. So good luck, with all of the doom a gloom on this board, I would think that there should be good seats being turned in all over the place now, so you may get lucky and get some decent seats. I am just hoping some of the couch sitters (above) and any boycotters we get this year give up their tickets and parking so you can get season tickets and I can move back closer to Neyland. My guess is anyone who is ticked off over $2.71 per game is not a donor or a season ticket holder in the first place.

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

ummmm...too bad you can call up in July, write a check and get season tickets. It's not like they are turning people away. This MIGHT happen in years we where are going to be preseason Top 10 but that wasn't even the case in 2005.

auttat writes:

Ah! Yet another article for CRVol to spew her venom!

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!

Col26ca writes:

Gripe and Moan. It's entertainment If you don't like the price don't pay it. Some one else will. It's still a sellers market.

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

Sellers market? Good luck to anyone trying to get face value for tickets to UAB, Northern Illinois, Wyoming, Miss State and then UK in November. Better hope we split vs. UCLA and Auburn so Florida can help make up the difference and that the Bama is meaningful come October.

BigVolinCarolina writes:

I can't imagine what the price increase would be in the event we had a 2-loss season, and it scares me even more to think about how much they'd skyrocket in an undefeated season.

Like anyone else, I'd love an undefeated season, but it's hard to justify shifting costs like this, particularly after the 2007 season.

Based on our W-L record AND off-the-field incidents since 2001, we're not even getting our monies worth as it is.

Sorry, I'm all about profit & bottom-line--but I'm not sold on this move.


I'm pretty sure the men's basketball team takes care of itself. I don't think it needs any help from football. I know basketball revenue has more than doubled since Pearl took over and the men's program was making money before Pearl showed up. The football program has to provide for baseball, softball, track, tennis, swimming, crew, etc. The university also gets money from the football program for general scholarships (non-athletic) as well has building upgrades, such as the near $500,000 the football team gave for upgrades to the library about 5 or 10 years ago.

I'm pretty sure though that the men's basketball team needs no help from anyone and never has.

GreerVol22 writes:

Pay my gas bill to get there and I'll buy season tickets today! not really, but facts are facts.

Car lots are full, houses are not selling, gas will be $4 by Sept 1, and my God, have you seen the price of Bud lately?

pdhuff#552644 writes:

I'd kinda like the upgrade to kick in when we face the Gators and Bama this fall.

In performance.

Hope springs eternal in the .........

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

Only 29% of the seats in Neyland Stadium are tied to athletic related donations. You can also get tickets by contributing through the University and then the Visitors and students take up about 20% of the seats in Neyland. The problem is that faculty/staff and then grandfathered tickets take up a ton of seats in Neyland stadium that require no donation.

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

nafslov, nice try but please by all means, read the 3rd paragraph, last sentence:

Silent_Fulmer writes:

Posted by WorkinLikeHeck on March 31, 2008 at 3:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Only 29% of the seats in Neyland Stadium are tied to athletic related donations. You can also get tickets by contributing through the University and then the Visitors and students take up about 20% of the seats in Neyland. The problem is that faculty/staff and then grandfathered tickets take up a ton of seats in Neyland stadium that require no donation."

Thus the growing empty seats in Neyland. People realize the current system is not fair to people trying to get season tickets therefore the empty seats grow.

Good one Hamilton.

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

I am sure it did. Thanks for paying the bill for those who don't donate and have grandfathered season tickets. I'm sure they appreciate it. How many seats do you have there?

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

So I guess I can find your name in the Gold Victor level for giving in the game program from last year? Those who donate over $1,000 get program recognition. I'm sure you knew that though since you told us the amount of your donation.

THE_VOL writes:

ALRIGHTY THEN!!! THE COST OF MEDIOCRITY CONTINUES TO RISE!!! $19 increase for 7 games amounts to about $5 per home win!

BigOrangeVol writes:

So UTAD athletic scholarships and operating expenses went up by 2.82% but ticket prices went up 6.04%? Don't ya just love fuzzy math and its justification?

I remember telling Coach Dickey about 12 years ago that he was pricing me right out of my tickets and his response was, "Get a better job". He was serious as a heart attack too! I think that he was still upset about the several NCAA investigations, the Shaklee incident, phone fraud and academic fraud, the illegal summer camp, a ticket scandal and the Wade Houston/Cherokee Country Club fiasco. At least Hamilton will smile an be cordial while he screws you.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

As long as we keep Pilot Oil happy.

They just happened to build TBA where we parked eons ago. Ah, the times, they are achangin'.....

He##, I even remember seeing the Pullman cars coming to the river end of the stadium. Always thought they were the cat,s meow.

Maybe we should form a geezers united. But we have that already at the sports bar when the Vols play. Won't let us chuck long-neck Buds at the 6' screen, though.

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

I can't wait to get home, check a game program from last year and not see "RC Shepard" on the Gold Victor level list ($15,000) and up.

volboy81#211803 writes:

all of you whiney, complainers need to take the word VOL out of your user names. You arent fans!
Go root for Vandy....their season tickets cost $99!


Someone above asked about the minimum donation to get season tickets. You can get two season tickets in the upper deck for a $500.00 donation. The lowest donation for lower level seats (2 tickets), in the end zone, is $1000.00. I was able to upgrade to the lower level 6 years ago. Went from PP to P, in the dry. Now I sit in X5, in the dry. Good corner of the end zone seats. I like the north end better since I park in the 11th Street Garage. Only about a 7 or 8 minute walk to the car from the north end. Not bad at all.

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

So, RC Shepard isn't your real name? If it's not, than what is it? I'm sure it's listed in the game program where they list donors by name who have given $1,000 or more each year.

TommyJack writes:

nafslov: thanks. I appreciate all you've done for us.

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

Cool....there can't be that many "Robert's" on the Gold Victor Level list. I expect to find some variation of "Robert _hepard." I mean you are such a big time donor that funds this program and all.

airship writes:

this extra money will be for fulmers raise next year no matter what the win-loss record is.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.