Scrambling for seats

BY AUSTIN MONTEITH | SPORTS EDITOR
Butler men’s basketball season ticket holders will go through a different process to select their seats this season.

The new “Select-A-Seat” program begins Monday and runs through Friday, Oct. 4.

Season ticket holders will be assigned a date and time to arrive at Hinkle Fieldhouse to choose their seats for the 2013-2014 season next week.

The number of Priority Points per seat determines the date and time fans choose their seats.

Fans will have a 10-minute period to select their seats once they reach their assigned time.

Priority Points are determined by the number of seasons a fan has been a season ticket holder, the amount of money they have donated to the athletics department in the past five years and how much they have donated within the last year.

Fans will meet with an athletics department employee in the main concourse of the fieldhouse. Maps of each section will be laid out for fans to make their selection, and employees will cross out seats as they are reserved.

Fans may take as much time in their 10-minute period as they like to select seats. However, more groups of fans will continue to show up every 10 minutes to select their seats. No more than 10 fans will select seats for every 10-minute period.

“We felt like it would provide more customer service and be more transparent with our season ticket base in terms of how the seats are allocated and what locations people get into,” said Mike Freeman, associate athletic director for external operations.

Other schools use the same system of selecting seats for their season ticket holders.

Athletic department officials used the University of Kansas as a model for implementing the new system.

Matt Harris, manager of fan development and tickets, visited Kansas’ campus in August with Kyle Smith, assistant director of the Bulldog Club, and Freeman to observe how the school operated its select-a-seat event.

“We watched how they did it as far as the logistics of it,” Harris said. “How many fans came during a certain timeframe when it’s their time, how long of a window they have, how many fans in each window, did they go to the arena to pick seats or did they look at seating charts.”

Harris said the process will take place again next season. It is unknown if a selection process will occur after 2014.

“Beyond that I don’t know,” Harris said. “I don’t know how we’ll do it. (It) probably just depends on how successful this is and if we see tweaks that are necessary.”

Season ticket holders have mixed reactions to the new selection process.

Darlene Waddell, the department secretary for the College of Education, and her husband have been season ticket holders since 1979. She said she is not concerned about the new selection process and understands why it was put in place.

“I think it is something that, if you’re a basketball fan and you know how other programs work, you knew that this was coming for Butler and the kind of growth that we’ve had with our basketball team being so successful,” Waddell said.

Waddell and her husband have four seats under their names, while her two sons have seats under their own names. Because her sons do not have as many priority points as her husband does, the possibility exists that they might be split up this season.

Waddell said she hopes her sons are able to sit with the rest of her family.

“But if not, it’s one of two things,” Waddell said. “Either you have to give more money to secure those seats, or you just have to be happy with what you are able to get.”

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