DESTIN, Fla. – For the first time in a decade, South Carolina will not sell out of football season tickets.
USC athletics director Eric Hyman acknowledged the YES program – aka, the personal seat license – has scared off a number of fans, as expected. The average attrition rate at other schools that implemented PSLs was 10 to 12 percent.
Hyman would not say whether USC would surpass that rate, but it sounds like the Gamecocks will have at least that percentage of season ticket holders drop off.
The flipside is the seat fees, which range from $50 to $395, are bringing in the extra revenues Hyman views as key to his long-range facilities plan.
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That’s all well and good, but USC president Harris Pastides said officials should not lose sight of the fans who are taking their disposable income and spending it elsewhere.
“Although the revenue side may be up, we’re very concerned about people who maybe feeling the squeeze and not able to buy season tickets,” Pastides said. “And what’s the right thing to do there? We need more revenue, but you need the fans equally. I’m very sensitive to the fans.”
So sensitive that USC would reverse course and ditch the YES program? No way. That cat’s out of the bag.
USC will try other measures to assuage fans. Gamecock Club officials have frozen dues – and plan to do so until the economy improves – and started a membership drive after watching its membership plummet 20 percent (from 14,000 members to 11,000) in just a few years.
Not sure what else USC can do, except win.
A few notes from the final day here at the Sandestin Hilton. The presidents are getting ready to vote on a number of proposals.
They are expected to support proposals to:
–Cap football signing classes at 30, a measure that should be called the Houston Nutt Rule after the Mississippi coach signed 37 players in February;
–Form a committee to study cost containment measures. Hyman said SEC athletics directors are supportive of several initiatives proposed by other conferences, including the elimination of the NCAA regional track meets and European basketball tours.
Hyman said there was mixed support for a measure that would allow football programs to pay for four graduate assistants, instead of the current two. Hyman said there was little support among AD’s for an early signing football period.