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High demand prompts ticket change

Joe Piarulli | Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Football at Notre Dame will undergo some changes next season, but not all of them will take place on the field.

As a result of record-high ticket demand in the 2006 season, the University has made some ticketing changes, according to a Sunday press release.

Parents are now guaranteed tickets for only one game, but may apply for tickets to two football games: Nov. 3 against Navy or Nov. 10 against Air Force.

According to the press release, “parents who apply for tickets to only one of those two games may designate the game of their choice – and they will be guaranteed two tickets to that game.”

Parents who apply to both games “will be guaranteed tickets to at least one of the two games, but will not be able to specify the game for which tickets will be guaranteed.”

Parents would be entered into the general alumni lottery for the second game.

The parents’ game for incoming students will be announced in June.

“We’re making changes based on the record-setting demand from last year to make sure that we can preserve access for all of our constituency groups,” said Josh Berlo, director of Ticket Operations.

The Michigan State game Sept. 22 next year will be the senior alumni game and the Nov. 17 game against Duke will be the alumni family game.

The press release stated: “Notre Dame contributing alumni who graduated 35 or more years ago receive priority status on their alumni ticket application for the designated senior alumni game.”

If the demand from senior alumni exceeds supply and it is not possible to provide guaranteed ticket access for that game, “tickets will be allotted in descending order to most senior alumni.” In other words, older alumni will be given higher priority for tickets than younger alumni.

For the alumni family game against Duke, contributing alumni will be able to apply for up to four tickets on their lottery application.

Berlo cited several reasons for growing ticket demand, and despite the graduation of many of the team’s stars, he does not foresee a drop.

“Certainly it’s a combination of our growing alumni population, their loyal support and the success of our wonderful program,” he said. “I think that interest, demand and support for Notre Dame football will remain high.”

According to Associate Athletic Director John Heisler, there are worse problems than figuring out which 80,000 bodies to put in the stands.

“The last thing you’d want to have to be worried about is how to move tickets,” he said. “What we’re trying to do is get in a position where we’re going to satisfy as many people as possible, and that’s never going to be easy, but those are the kinds of problems that you like to have.”

Heisler said the high demand made it clear that some changes would have to be made to the previous system.

“Part of it is just trying to make as many people happy as you possibly can, in terms of having some access,” he said. “In some of these cases, as with the general lottery, some access may not mean four or six tickets, it may only mean two, but that may give us, in general, the ability to satisfy more people than we have before.”

More than ever, the ticketing system is based on demand, and, like Berlo, Heisler said he expects demand to remain high even after players like Irish quarterback Brady Quinn and receiver Jeff Samardzija have graduated.

“The success of our team and the excitement that has surrounded the whole program … have been a big part of that demand,” he said. “Certainly this was a very attractive season and a very attractive home schedule … but as we continue to have success and move forward, you’re anticipating that that’s going to stay consistent, if not improve.”

Berlo said parents and alumni should continue to stay aware of ticket information.

“They should be on the lookout for the application this spring … read the enclosed materials and give the ticket office a call if they have any questions,” he said.

The Notre Dame ticket office can be reached at 574-631-7356 or online at www.und.com/tickets.