Editorial Board

SU Athletics’ new season pass system misses the mark on trying to generate bigger crowds at home games

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SU will release a four-tiered season pass for football, men’s and women’s basketball and men’s lacrosse on Wednesday.

Syracuse University Athletics has made efforts to increase attendance at home games, but the new season ticket model set to unfold Wednesday falls flat in supporting that goal because it lacks a rewards system that truly incentivizes students to attend games.

What SU needs is structure that would increase attendance at games that garner smaller crowds — like women’s basketball — by promising students that if they attend those games, they’ll be guaranteed better seats at a premiere game of men’s basketball, the most popular sport among SU fans. The university is expected to unroll a rewards system this fall based on the success of similar systems at other Power 5 universities, but has taken unnecessary steps to previewing this system in the meantime.

SU has planned to put in place a four-tiered season pass for football, men’s and women’s basketball and men’s lacrosse that has options varying in cost and offerings to fans. The cheapest ticket plan is $200 — $19 cheaper than the current season pass — and the most expensive ticket plan is $300.

The cheaper plan operates the same as the current season pass in that it grants access to all home games for these sports with no additions. The most expensive option, on the other hand, offers access to all home games in addition to first priority for postseason away games and a meet-and-greet with select head coaches, in addition to other amenities.

The different tiers echo a rewards system, but they don’t offer students incentives they care about. Rather, the new tiered system offers niceties including a tour of the Carmelo K. Anthony Center and Manley Field House and a pair of Syracuse Orange sunglasses — features that aren’t likely to motivate the average student to purchase a $300 “student pass elite” ticket plan.

If SU Athletics truly wants to incentivize attendance for its less popular sporting events, it should have waited to package the season pass with the rewards system it will unveil in the fall. Students are unlikely to cash in on the offers the new tiered system includes, which does not bode well for the goal to increase attendance at non-men’s basketball games and makes the system appear more as a ploy for money than goodwill for the less popular teams.

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