Glass reflects on 15,000 student season ticket sales for 2013-2014 season

  • 10/22/2013 7:55 am in


In a recent conversation with Indiana basketball coach Tom Crean, Fred Glass reminisced to his first year as IU’s athletic director.

Crean was in the midst of his first season as IU’s head coach in 2008-2009, and the team was on its way to its worst record in school history. Student season tickets sales were so poor, just more than half of its allotted space of 7,800 seats had been filled.

“Shoot, we were doing everything we could. I can’t remember the exact number that first year, I think we ended up with 4,200 or something like that,” Glass said in a recent interview with Inside the Hall. “Which at any other university in the country would be the best year they’ve ever had, but for us, was extremely disappointing.”

For the next three seasons, students who bought season tickets would have access to every home game. But as Indiana’s on-court success returned, demand grew as well. Last season, with a preseason No. 1 team, students were given access to only 10 games each. However, heading into this season with far-fewer on-court expectations, demand is up. Around 15,000 student season ticket sales have been sold, and students who bought season tickets were given eight games β€” only half of the amount they had received only two years ago.

“In fact, I had to remind myself that that wasn’t normal for the new students, and when we went to (fewer games), there would be a little a culture shock, of, ‘Wait, what do you mean? We always get every game’,” Glass said. “Well that was their normal for two or three years, but still, it was their normal. And we probably didn’t do a very good job, especially that first year, of letting people know that’s how that was going to work.

“And I take responsibility for that, because to me, it was so part of Indiana that that’s how it worked, that I sort of forgot that it wasn’t the reality of the kids who had been here for two or three years.”

When Glass was a student at Indiana from 1977 to 1981, receiving only half β€” maybe even a third β€” of home games as part of a season ticket package was normal. Back then, 15,000 students purchasing season tickets was typical. But Indiana’s basketball team hasn’t received this much attention from its students in years.

Once student demand for tickets eclipsed the supply available, Glass’s instincts were to go back to the way it worked back when he was a student: sell as many tickets as possible and then determine a number where all students can attend an equal amount of games. With tickets being a scarcity, attendance isn’t an issue. And to reward upperclassmen for continued attendance, IU gives them tickets to the “most marquee” home game.Β It’s tradition, Glass said. He’s a fan of maintaining that.

“I get that it’s controversial. I get that people can have different views on that,” Glass said. “I just really believe that rationing, if you will, of the tickets is the right way to go.

“I think it’s better for more people to experience Indiana University basketball as students going to the game, even if that means they can’t go to every game.”

When Glass saw the number of this season’s total student season ticket sales, he wasn’t surprised. Yes, he said he was “very, very pleased” and that it is “very heartening,” however, he knew that because of Crean’s efforts the past five seasons, student demand would be back to where it should be.

But the memory of 4,200 total student ticket sales remains fresh in Glass’s mind. And he does not want to return to that number again.

“Some people would say, ‘Hey, let’s take our most loyal fans, maybe the kids that are upperclassmen or first-come, first-serve or however you would do it,’ but they would argue that it’s better for 7800 kids to be able to go to every single game than for 15,000 kids to go to half the games,” Glass said. “I guess I’m for the more people that can be happy, the better.”

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  • sarge

    this to me is the only real reason to look at building a new venue. if you could pack 15,000 students in for every game I don’t see how we could ever lose. i have been going to the games for 25 years now at assembly hall and the students give us an edge with their knowledge and passion imo.

  • mrjonessodaandme

    The thing is, 15,000 students wouldn’t attend every game. In fact, its rare that all 7,800 show up…or ever 7000…6500, etc.

    And to allow 15,000 student seats, you’d have to have a 25,000 seat arena. Thats not feasible for many, many reasons.

  • Andrew

    The funny part of this is that despite selling 15,000 student tix the balconies (at least the one primarily filled w/ students, I can never remember if that’s the east or west end) will be mostly empty until B1G play starts. Nothing will keep the students away like the endless parade of low-major scrubs we have scheduled. Please note: this is NOT me making a comment on our non-conf schedule strength, but merely stating the fact that students don’t care about Samford, North Florida, etc etc etc unless they have good seats.

  • BluegrassHoosier

    New arena with the students close to the floor would be a big competitive edge. We have the largest student section in the country. Let’s exploit that advantage. For all the supporters of keeping AH, I’d remind them that a great deal of our success was in the 70s – 80s when the arena was relatively new.

  • Steve Fischer

    I too in the past have criticized the cupcake schedule, but this year I disagree. We essentially have a new team and we need some cupcakes for experimentation and confidence building. Students don’t need to have to get excited to see Samford because they should already be excited to see Stanford– as well as Noah and the rest of the question marks.

  • Kreigh_Smiths_Short_Shorts

    I see what you did there.

  • Jackson

    As a student, I understand the idea of wanting more students to go to the games. I wish there was a way to reward upperclassman, especially those who bought season tickets 4 years ago, further than simply receiving a couple slightly better big ten games, but that would be very difficult. So I get that splitting the games the way they do makes sense.

    What does not make any sense to me, is the idea that students are receiving 10 games last year and 8 this year. Last year my best seats of the season (behind the basket) were in the exhibition game against UIndy and this year one of my lower level games is the exhibition against Southern Indiana. No knock against those schools, but come on. Those games shouldn’t count to the total. I would have much rather received 16th row of the balcony against Nebraska, than having good seats against DII schools. Selling the idea that I have received 8 games, seems disingenuous at the very least.

  • nwin iu fan

    I agree totally I’m coming down for the wknd how many tickets are available for Saturdays exhibition?

  • Hoosier heritage

    I like the rotation system. The bad side is a student is going to get a couple games for mediocre to bad teams, get a couple games with a horrible view, and probably not get a ticket to a game that they wanted to go to. The good side is that every student is going to get a chance to see the Hoosiers live, get a couple games where they get to see high quality opponents, and get at least one game where they have amazing seats.

  • TomJameson

    Sometimes the only way some poor slob from Southern Indiana (me) can see any games, is to buy the packages that are only available because the students are on break and those seats are open for that brief period. Otherwise, the season opens all sold out. And, even though those package deals may not be the marque games people want, they still cost a bit. Even with all that, I loved it the one time I did it. But not because of who we played, it was because it was Indiana. πŸ™‚

  • Hoosiers__1

    The Athletic Department and Glass keep saying Priority Points matter, but I don’t believe them. The upperclassmen don’t even get better games; IU split the 16 games into two even groups (four conference games and four nonconference in each group). Since I’m a senior who has bought bball and football season tickets every year, I should of gotten GA or South Court for the “most marquee” game in my package, UM. Instead, I got the last row in the balcony for that game. So much for getting rewarded for continued attendance the past three years.

  • Idaho Hoosier

    When I was a student in the early 90’s we got 4 games a season- 2 big ten and 2 scrubs. And for those 4 games, we got the balcony for 2 games, lower level 2 games. So these students are getting a great deal in comparison!

  • Andrew

    Like I stated, I’m not criticizing anything. Just making a statement of fact. Chicago State, the opener and on a Friday, will be well attended by students. But most of the other non-conf games, especially during the week, will not be. Remember, most of the incoming freshman have never been up in the balcony. And so many of them, after seeing it up close and personal, will decide it is worth it for Michigan State, but not for Stony Brook.

  • eglinden

    Actually, Stony Brook should be a pretty good team. I think they won there conference last year.

  • Andrew

    Yes. So should LIU-Brooklyn. How many students will know that or care?

  • Jen

    (This coming from someone who works in the ticket office)…..You do realize that we are the ones that assign everything, right? Not Fred Glass. And we are instructed to assign everything on seniority and priority. He’s not in there at all. Ever. So, it really is up to a bunch of little people to assign everything(DO ALL THE HARD WORK FOR THE BIG MEN). Look, it’s never going to be fair. When you are trying to assign people to games someone is always going to feel like they got screwed.

    I can’t tell you how many times students come into the ticket office complaining that they wanted better seats then they got.

  • Blair McKee

    Tix to the cupcake games not on national TV are sold to alumni for beer money. I did it.