Sunday, June 18, 2006

Trouble in Paradise?

The news couldn't come at a worse time for the Hawaii athletic department, which has reported a financial deficit the past four years. Season-ticket renewals for Hawaii games dropped 11.6% from last year, the second-largest decline in the past five years. Sales have been in a freefall since 2002, when 23,093 season tickets were sold. So far, only 16,300 tickets have been sold for the 2006 season. Football staff and players spoke by phone with season-ticket holders during the renewal period, noting that the team has eight home games this season compared to seven last season. But even with all the encouragement, sales tumbled. Hawaii officials refused to speculate for the reasons behind the drop, but a premium-seat system — a fan pays a fee for the right to buy a ticket in a "preferred" area — might be in part to blame. And then there is the crackdown on tailgating at Aloha Stadium. At this point, it appears Hawaii can't afford a repeat of the 5-7 season in 2005.

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