Bertman lays out LSU football ticket plan
BATON ROUGE, La. -- A regular, lower-level sideline seat for an LSU football game could cost between $80 and $90 per game in 2004 -- more than double the price this season -- under a plan announced Wednesday by university athletic officials.
LSU had to raise prices on about 45,000 seats at football games to reach its goal of becoming one of the top five college sports programs in the nation, athletic director Skip Bertman said.
The new fees will be listed separately from the base ticket price, a technicality that allowed the Tiger Athletic Foundation to sidestep a failed effort to persuade the state Legislature to increase the number of seats under TAF's control.
Currently, TAF surcharges may be imposed on only 12 percent of the 80,000 seats that existed in the 91,600-seat Tiger Stadium before TAF built the east upper deck for LSU in 2000. That is roughly 9,600 seats.
The new fees will be considered donations to LSU athletics, which for ticket holders could mean the fees will be up to 80 percent tax deductible, Bertman said.
The money will be use for renovations and new construction on LSU athletic facilities. LSU's long term plans include a new baseball stadium, for example. Other plans include replacing the upper deck and private suites on the west side of Tiger Stadium, building new football offices and training rooms and renovating the Maravich Assembly Center, where basketball is played.
LSU Chancellor Mark Emmert said the plan was important because LSU wants the athletic department to fund itself so all of LSU's tuition and state-appropriated money can be spent on academics.
Bertman says plan going before the LSU board would price every seat at $36 -- up from $32 this season-- and add the surcharges on top of that.
Those who buy premium, sideline seats between the 25-yard lines for the whole season would pay an additional $400 per seat, per year, Bertman said. The yearly additional fee would be less -- about $85 -- for seats around the end zones. Some upper deck seats also would carry annual surcharges of between $85 and $150.
"We were committed to establishing realistic financial and facility improvement goals that in turn would allow us to create realistic and affordable contribution amounts for existing season ticket holders," Bertman said in his Cyber-side Chat on LSU's Web site.
Bertman said the plan was designed with feedback from fans in mind, and he apologized to those longtime season ticket holders who under the new plan may not be able to afford their same seats after this season.
"The most gut-wrenching aspect of this plan is the realization that some season ticket holders who truly cannot afford to make the financial commitment for the right to purchase their seats will choose to give them up, some after many years of attending LSU football games," Bertman said. "For those people I am heartbroken and I express my sincere regret."
Bertman said LSU would work with current season ticket holders who could not afford the surcharge to move them to seats with lower surcharges or none at all.
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