Saturday, January 20, 2007

How Rivals Make Money Off Iowa Fans

It's always important to know an opponent's weakness, and in the case of Iowa, rivals are exploiting the passion of Hawkeye fans for financial gain. Iowa State is the latest team to cash in, designating the Cyclones' home game this fall against Iowa as a "premium date." What does that mean? No single-game tickets will be sold for the Iowa-Iowa State game, and if you want a seat, you'll have to buy an Iowa State season ticket. Now who in their right mind would fall for such a ploy just to see one game? Plenty of Iowa fans do. Last year Minnesota designated its home game with Iowa as a premium date, meaning that fans who wanted single-game tickets to the Hawkeyes' game at Minneapolis also had to purchase a ticket to the Golden Gophers' home game against Division I-AA North Dakota State. It worked, as an announced 62,845 attended the game against the Bison, the crowd being second only to the 64,140 that were in the Metrodome for the Iowa game. By contrast, the Gophers drew 50,805 for Michigan, 45,612 for Temple, 45,227 for Penn State and 44,610 for Indiana. Michigan also put the premium designation on the Iowa game, and fans wishing for individual tickets to see the Hawkeyes in the Big House also had to purchase a ticket for the Wolverines' game against Ball State, the least desirable game on Michigan's 2006 home schedule. What Iowa State has done is taken it a step further, now requiring Iowa fans to buy a season ticket to see the Hawkeyes play at Ames. "Part of the reasoning is that the last time we hosted Iowa, we had single-game requests totaling 36,000 tickets," Iowa State associate athletic director Steve Malchow told the Cedar Rapids Gazette. "Our goal is to maximize season-ticket sales. This is something that has been done at other places for key games. I think it's probably naive to think there won't be negative feedback, but I have not received any so far."

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