The best seats in the house at South Carolina women's basketball games will come at a higher price this season.
For the first time, the Gamecocks are requiring fans to make a “seat donation” for the right to be in certain seats at women’s games. The charges apply only to courtside seats.
The donation fee will be $400 annually for the first row in courtside sections (101-103, 107, 109, 113, 115-118) and $200 annually for seating in the lower rows of sections 105 and 114. The change will affect roughly 320 seats, less than 2 percent of the Colonial Life Arena capacity.
The women's basketball team has led the nation in attendance each of the past four seasons.
"This additional revenue will help sustain the cost of attendance requirements for more than 500 student-athletes, retain the tremendous coaches we have here, continue to build and maintain top-notch facilities and fund all of our athletic programs as we compete for SEC and national championships,” athletics director Ray Tanner said in a statement. “The cost to compete and win at the highest levels has undoubtedly increased. The addition of basketball seat donations came after careful deliberation and discussion regarding the impact on our fans. The successes that we have shared and the quality of the student-athlete experience here is in large part because of our fans and great coaches.”
The South Carolina women, who won the national title in the 2016-2017 season, finished 29-7 overall and 12-4 in the SEC last year. Dawn Staley’s team finished its season with a loss to UConn in the Elite Eight.
The Gamecocks instituted a seat donation for men's games prior to last season, when the team was coming off an appearance in the Final Four.
For men’s games, a $2,000 annual fee is required for the right to pay $260 per seat in Row AA of sections 113 and 115. Both of those are courtside directly across from the team benches. A $1,500 annual fee is required to pay $260 per seat for Founders Club Seats, which include row CC in section 114; row FL in sections 101, 109 and 118; row AA in sections 102, 103, 107, 116 and 117, and rows AA-8 in section 105.
The Gamecocks men are looking for a bounceback season in 2018-19 after going 17-16 overall and 7-11 in the SEC last year.
South Carolina instituted a similar policy for football tickets in 2009 under former athletics director Eric Hyman. The initiative was called the YES (Yearly Equitable Seating) program.