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Jeff Kolpack, Published March 11 2012

Some Bison football season ticket prices climbing

FARGO – North Dakota State’s stock in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision isn’t the only thing that has gone up with the program. Ticket prices are also on the rise.

The biggest hike will be felt by veteran Team Makers booster club members, who have premium seats.

The “Circle of Champions” full scholarship season ticket seats, for instance, will go up from $550 to $700 next season. The three-fourths scholarship season tickets will increase from $575 to $700 and the half-scholarship section from $350 to $450.

But there’s also a major variance in what members are paying in the premium seats, mostly because of a scholarship program that began in 2005 as a result of NDSU’s jump to Division I athletics. Long-time members who have not joined the scholarship program are on average paying 36 percent of market value, Taylor said.

NDSU would have to raise those tickets from between $75 to $125 annually for the next 10 years to reach that current value, which Taylor said will not happen.

And what is the current market value? It will cost a new member who joins the “Circle of Champions” $11,000, which includes four season tickets. Team Makers executive director Pat Simmers has a waiting list of people wanting to get into that area.

That means if somebody leaves paying $850 for two seats plus their Team Maker dues, there are people willing to pay $5,500 for those same seats – half of the $11,000 for four seats. The demand, especially after NDSU’s national title in January, is at a high level.

Taylor also acknowledges seizing on the opportunity provided by a championship.

“Are we capitalizing? Yes,” he said. “Strike while the iron is hot, so to speak. But we’re also behind on where the demand is. A new person coming in is paying more than the person sitting there. Dues are up, but it’s still not market value yet.”

The NDSU scholarship budget this year is $3.1 million. Team Makers, which raises money for scholarships, collected $2.2 million.

“So we’re not meeting our scholarship budget and costs are going up,” Taylor said.

He said he’s received two anonymous letters critical of the increases and the NDSU ticket office received a few complaints. Team Makers president Jim Hambrick said he’s heard a couple of people notice the increase, but nobody has said anything to him. He also noted it’s early in the process.

“And I’ve asked a few cohorts on the executive board and the response is pretty consistent that way,” Hambrick said. “I don’t want to say (the reaction) is positive, but it has not been much of an event so far.”

It’s also a rare increase in ticket prices, Taylor said.

They did not go up between 1993 and 2004. There was a small increase in 2005 with a full Division I schedule and increases have come periodically since then. Last year, a couple of sections went up 10 percent, Taylor said.

Taylor said there was discussion to make all sideline season ticket holders join Team Makers, but that was rejected. Those tickets increased from $135 for the season to $160. The end zone season tickets increased only $10 from $100 for the season.

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia