West Virginia University football fans will pay a bit more to watch the Mountaineers at Milan Puskar Stadium this year.
WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck sent an email to prior season ticket holders Tuesday informing them of a "modest increase" for annual ticket packages for the school's first season in the Big 12 Conference.
The hike coincides with increases in the required donation levels for the university's priority seating areas that officials had planned to put in place well ahead of joining the Big 12.
Luck said in the email the increases are needed to boost revenue to compete with the likes of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Oklahoma State.
"West Virginia ranks seventh of 10 Big 12 schools in football revenue," he said. "This, coupled with one of the smallest football stadiums in the conference, spells the realistic challenges facing the University."
Luck said he wants to use the increased revenue to upgrade the football stadium and the WVU Coliseum; provide additional academic resources for student athletes; and cover increased costs from tuition, housing for student athletes and travel in the Big 12.
Matt Wells, assistant athletic director for marketing and sales, said football ticket sales and priority seating revenue represent some of the most significant sources of income for the school's athletic department.
"It benefits not just the football team but all of our Olympic sports, from basketball to baseball to soccer all the way down the line," he said. "That's certainly a very, very important source of funds for the entire department."
Actual season ticket prices aren't going up that much.
Last year, season ticket packages cost $365. The price is going up $30 this year to $395 for the seven home games this fall.
"You're talking about less than $5 per game increase on season tickets," Wells said. "Plus, there is a savings of $30 by purchasing the season tickets versus buying at the single-game rate."
The cost of single-game tickets also will go up this year.
Last year, individual tickets cost $50, $55 or $75, depending on anticipated demand for a game.
This year those prices will rise by $5 each to $55, $60 and $80. Wells said he expected the Nov. 17 game versus Oklahoma to cost $80 per ticket.
But many season ticket holders will pay more for their seats even before they buy tickets.
WVU has a priority seating system for donors to the Mountaineer Athletic Club.