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New season tickets to fund stadium repairs

Mary Kate Malone | Saturday, September 30, 2006

In an effort to generate money for Notre Dame Stadium repairs, the University will offer 5,000 season football tickets starting in 2007, University officials announced Thursday.

The University has not offered season tickets in more than 30 years, and the increased ticket revenue will help fund “ongoing preventative maintenance” on the stadium, which is estimated to cost about $40 million, Executive Vice President John Affleck-Graves said at a press conference Thursday afternoon.

The tickets will be sold at their face value plus an annual rights fee based on the ticket location: $2,000 per ticket for sideline seats, $1,500 for corner seats and $1,200 for end zone seats.

People affiliated with the University will be given priority in the ticket lottery, Affleck-Graves said. Season ticket applications will be mailed in January to everyone who signs up on an online list at Notre Dame’s athletic Web site.

If more than 5,000 people appeal for tickets, then the University will use a lottery system to allocate the tickets – taking into consideration one’s affiliation with the University.

By 4 p.m. Friday, more than 750 people had already signed up to receive an application, said Assistant Vice President for News and Information Dennis Brown.

The 5,000 tickets will come from a reduction in internal ticket allocations and from season tickets that have been returned during the last several years, Affleck-Graves said.

“Internal tickets” refers to tickets allocated to academic departments, the University Relations office, the University president’s office and others. It does not include student, faculty or staff tickets.

Affleck-Graves said other funding options for the stadium repairs were considered, such as adding luxury box seats. But that was ruled out, he said, since it would “change the look and feel of Notre Dame Stadium.” Officials also ruled out using donor money.

“We would not feel comfortable naming the football stadium after somebody and we would not feel comfortable putting a donor’s name on the stadium,” Affleck-Graves said.

While the structural supporting frame of the 76-year-old stadium is in good condition, the weather has deteriorated the concrete of the seating bowl.

Beginning this summer, continuous repairs will be made to the stadium for the next 20 to 25 years, Affleck-Graves said. The first concern will be repairing the seating bowl concrete, which is cracked in some areas.

“It will be done piece by piece as we go along,” Affleck-Graves said. “The first phase will be to clean up the most egregious damage.”

In addition to the season ticket announcement, the University also announced that it is “committed to actively monitoring and enforcing its ticket resale policy,” according to a statement released by the Office of News and Information. Roughly 1,700 tickets have already been suspended or revoked this year alone.

To increase ticket access for alumni in the general football ticket lottery, tickets have been reallocated and several policy changes have been made, Affleck-Graves said. However, he did not disclose the details of those reallocations.

“One of the things we’re strongly committed to is that we don’t want our tickets to be only available to a subset of our alumni,” Affleck-Graves said. “We want every alum to have a chance to come to a game at least once a year. So we changed our allocation to give high priority to the individual game lottery.”