Jan 12, 2013; Louisville, KY, USA; Louisville Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino reacts to a play during the first half against the South Florida Bulls at the KFC Yum! Center. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinal Success Comes With A Cost

Dec 1, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA; The ACC Championship trophy. The Seminoles defeated the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 21-15 to win the ACC Championship at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

For Louisville fans, the past few months couldn’t have been or be any better. In a short timeframe, UofL athletic director Tom Jurich announced the move the Atlantic Coast Conference which will begin in 2014. Next, head coach Charlie Strong led the football team to a Sugar Bowl win over No. 3 Florida. Today, the basketball team will likely hold the No. 1 ranking in college basketball.

While the success and conference realignment is exciting, it will likely come with a cost. A lot of things drive the price of admission, but nothing increases cost like demand. For football and basketball, demand is at an all-time high.
While every fan who likes to attend home games is impacted by price hikes, the most impacted group is season ticket holders. Season ticket holders are affected because of volume. Regardless if you are a ticket holder that pays a large donation for lower level seats or one that spends less, it is still money out of your pocket.

To put things in perspective, during the 2008-09 basketball season in Freedom Hall the cost of a ticket (not including donations paid by season ticket holders) was $30. In the final season inside Freedom Hall (09-10), the price jumped up a bit to $32 per ticket. When the KFC YUM! Center opened in 2010-11, fans saw another increase and were paying $35 per game. This season, the cost of admission is $37 (UK game was $40).

While $7 over 4 seasons doesn’t appear to be much to watch a basketball team coming off a Final Four appearance, it quickly adds up. Most tickets are sold in pairs of 2, so that is a $14 per game raise since 2008-09. UofL plays 18 home games this year and season ticket holders with 2 seats will pay $252 more than they did 4 seasons ago. Considering UofL draws approximately 20,000 fans per game, they are making $140,000 more per game solely on ticket cost compared to 2008-09.

Football ticket prices have gone through a very similar increase, but the impact isn’t as great because of the lower volume of home games. In 2008, the cost to enter Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium was $40. This past season, Card Nation paid $46 per game to watch quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and crew. So over 4 seasons, the cost per ticket raised $6. The Cards usually play 6-7 home games per season, so the impact for a pair of tickets for the year was $72-$84 compared to 2008.

For the fan that has 2 season tickets to both football and basketball, they are paying $324-$336 more per year compared to 2008. Remember, that doesn’t include or consider donation costs.

It is very possible Louisville fans could experience more ticket price increases in the near future. Whatever the increase is, there is no doubt the Cardinal faithful will fill the seats.

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