The cost of an entire season of games at Neyland Stadium is going up.
With eight of them to attend this year though, in the short term the average price of a ticket to see Tennessee will actually be coming down in 2011.
But rising costs to run the athletic department among many other financial considerations have forced the athletic department to look for additional revenue, and the Vols are poised to raise prices for football after two years without any adjustments.
After adding an extra home game by buying out of a series with North Carolina last fall, the hike from $360 to $390 for a season-ticket package actually lowers the cost per outing in Derek Dooley’s second season. But the bonus date at Neyland Stadium wasn’t the motivating factor for UT to increase its prices as it plans for the future, and senior associate athletic director for external operations Chris Fuller made clear fans won’t be paying more just because there is an eighth home game in 2011.
“I don’t think we looked at it and said we’ve got an eight game, we’ve got additional operational costs associated with putting on an eighth game and in order to be where we need to be, we need to increase $30,” Fuller said on Wednesday. “And we’re also not saying that’s the value of the eighth game. It’s more in the context of a $100 million budget and where we need we had escalation and fixed costs. How are we going to get to the right revenue base to fund our program?
“I think in terms of what our thinking was, it’s not a surprise to anybody that our costs continue to escalate at a pretty significant rate in college athletics. Every time we sit down to discuss a situation like this, you’re really trying to balance a couple really interesting dynamics -- the accessibility of your product for your fans with what you need to generate from a revenue perspective to make sure we’re in a position to be as competitive as we can be on the field, off the field, all those kinds of things.”
There’s also a balance needed in some respect to help make UT competitive on courts or fields as well, and with football generating the vast majority of revenue for the athletic department, the ticket increase could bring in an addition $2 million or more for the university.
Single-game tickets will undergo a similar change this season as well, collectively going up $30 to mirror the increases for season-tickets.
“There’s also a certain amount of this that is sort of a cost-of-living adjustment,” Fuller said. “It’s hard when you talk about passing on additional costs to your customers, especially since I thought our fans were unbelievable last year for those seven games at Neyland Stadium last year -- particularly considering that all of us understand we’re not where we want to be right now on the product side.”
Austin Ward covers Tennessee football. He may be reached 865-342-6274. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Vols_Beat and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/ward.