WVU basketball: Record sale of hoop seats at Coliseum nothing new
For reaching the NCAA Final Four last season, West Virginia men's basketball brought an unexpected $1 million from Big East coffers to the university's athletic program.
As Coach Bob Huggins' fourth Mountaineer team makes its WVU Coliseum regular-season debut Friday night, the dollars connected to success continue to multiply.
For a sixth consecutive season, West Virginia men's hoops has set a season-ticket sales record. Full-season sales will end Friday with Oakland (Mich.) visiting, and as of Wednesday afternoon, the still-growing number was 7,807.
The record, set again last year, was 7,785.
Since Huggins' arrival to guide his alma mater's program, season ticket sales have climbed by about 2,200 seats. That followed a spike of more than 1,500 in former Coach John Beilein's final two seasons.
WVU has nearly doubled its season ticket sales since 2004-05, when the number was 4,057.
"After the Final Four, I'm a bit disappointed we didn't do a little better," said Matt Wells, WVU's director of athletic marketing. "I was hopeful we could get to 8,000.
"That was a goal. But we had some turnover (in ticket holders) and with the economy being what it is, we still have another record. That's good."
The Coliseum's listed capacity is 14,000, although it's really somewhere in the high 13,000s, after some seats were removed for renovations and club seating several years ago.
A season ticket in the Coliseum costs between $500 and $2,000 in the lower bowl (depending on location) and $392 above the concourse.
Wells said about 2,000 seats for each home game are reserved for students, and with other commitments (including seats for the visiting team allotment), "the maximum season seats we could probably sell would be, ballpark, in the 9,000 range. It would be nice to get there."
WVU's average home attendance (14 games) last season was a school record 12,377, ranking 27th nationally and fourth in the 16-team Big East (behind Syracuse, Louisville and Marquette). The standard had been 11,384 in 1981-82 for Coach Gale Catlett's 27-4 club.
In addition to the full-season packages last season, WVU sold about 2,000 mini-plans (five-game packages). Those will go on sale for 2010-11 Monday for $135, Wells said.
Buyers have an option of Providence, USF, Pitt, Notre Dame and Connecticut (Gold package) or St. John's, Purdue, Seton Hall, DePaul and Louisville (Blue).
Wells said WVU is cutting off full-season sales after Friday because last week's exhibition game and the opener against Oakland were part of the package, and those games will be history by the weekend.
The Mountaineers also will begin single-game sales for non-conference dates remaining in November and December on Monday. That includes WVU's game on Nov. 27 at the Charleston Civic Center against VMI - which follows games involving the University of Charleston and West Virginia State that afternoon.
Those all-day tickets for the Hoops TripleFest are $27 (lower level) and $15 (upper level). Tickets for the annual Marshall-WVU Capital Classic doubleheader (Jan. 19) at the Civic Center are priced at $40 and $30.
The basketball season sales offer a contrast to what's happened in recent football seasons at WVU.
After a record 38,160 Mountaineer Field season seats were sold for the 2008 season, sales have fallen by about 3,400 in the last two seasons. This year's number was 34,754 - the lowest since 2005.
Contact Sports Editor Jack Bogaczyk at email@example.com or 304-348-7949.