STILLWATER — A ticket for Bedlam football this season will cost $294. The cost increases to $419 if you don't want to sit in the west end zone. And you thought a $100 ticket to watch Oklahoma State host the University of Oklahoma two years ago was expensive. OSU officials announced 2008 football season-ticket prices Tuesday. The interesting twist is they won't sell individual tickets for the Nov. 29 Bedlam game; you have to buy a season ticket. OSU athletic director Mike Holder said the decision was based on Iowa State having success with a similar plan last season for its game against in-state rival Iowa. Iowa State's season-ticket sales increased nearly 20 percent. "When you saw what happened there, you think, ‘Maybe that's something we should consider,'” Holder said. OSU athletic officials discussed the plan for more than four months. Once Holder and his staff were convinced that's the direction they wanted to go, a month ago they informed OSU's president and the board of regents. "Our ability to compete for championships, in all sports, is dependent upon our fans' commitment to buying season tickets in football and basketball,” Holder said. "Frankly, this decision is all about the long-term success of OSU athletics. Based on solid results at Iowa State, we believe this decision can produce a positive result at OSU.” Two years ago, OSU sold three-game packages for $160 that included tickets for Missouri State, Baylor and OU. This year there will be no packages. As a result, the Bedlam game could be OSU's least-attended game of the season. OSU and OU have given the opponent 5,000 tickets for Bedlam instead of the 4,000 required by Big 12 officials. Last year the two schools agreed to cut back to 4,000 when OSU played in Norman. Holder informed OU athletic director Joe Castiglione on Tuesday that OSU will instead give the Sooners 5,000 tickets. "It's a gesture of good will,” Holder said. "When we told him (last year) we wanted to cut back to 4,000 we didn't anticipate making this change, not allowing any single-game tickets.” Later this fall, single-game tickets will cost $60 for each non-conference opponent (Houston, Missouri State and Troy), $85 for the other three conference games (Texas A&M, Baylor and Iowa State). The strategy will give OSU a shot at selling more than 40,000 season tickets. "The majority of our season-ticket holders come to all the games,” Holder said. "That's what we want, more people in the stands for every game, not just the marquee games.”
Is the common fan being priced out of games?For the first time in three years, OSU did not raise season ticket or donor prices. The $419 season ticket is higher than last year ($359), but that's because OSU has seven home games this season. Last year there were only six. "We felt it was time to hold the line,” Holder said. "We challenged our fans and donors to step up and they've done that. You can't continue to challenge them every year. They're doing their part. Now the ball is in our court to show improvement on the court and the playing field.” The past two years Holder has received calls and e-mails from concerned OSU fans who feel the common fan is being priced out of attending football and men's basketball games. "I've heard a lot of that and I'm sensitive to it,” Holder said. "Pricing for football and basketball is not just about those two sports. Those two sports fund our entire athletic department. It's about tennis, baseball, softball, every sport.” With the return of the renovated west end zone, OSU gains 16,000 additional seats, in which lower priced tickets will be available. Boone Pickens Stadium capacity will increase to 60,000. OSU's record for season tickets is 38,674 set in 2004, which included a record 11,500 student tickets sold. "Hopefully someday we'll have a situation like the University of Texas, the University of Oklahoma or Nebraska where you can't buy a single game ticket and every game is a sellout,” Holder said. The Cowboys have played in bowl games five of the last six seasons. But the past years they've needed bowl wins just to finish above .500, posting a 7-6 record in both 2006 and 2007. "Let's win more ball games,” Holder said. "If we win more games we'll have more demand for tickets. That's how you get to sellout situations like Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.”
AT A GLANCE
Getting tickets•Four season tickets can be purchased in the Family Fun Zone for $980 or $245 a person. •Season tickets can also be purchased for $294. •New graduates — any OSU fan within five years of their graduation date — can purchase a season ticket for $245. •Faculty and staff season tickets will be $336.