Feb. 15, 2009
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State Athletics Department announced 2009 football season ticket prices Sunday, Feb. 15 as part of a comprehensive plan in response to challenging economic conditions in the State of Michigan and nationally. Other aspects of the plan result in significant budget reductions throughout the Department.
For the first time since 2005, season-ticket prices will increase $3 per ticket for some categories, while others will remain unchanged. Prior to the four-year freeze, football ticket prices had increased every other year since 1996. This equates to a 1.782 percent annual rate increase (for the general public) over the last four years, falling well below the annual inflation rate (3.333 percent average over the same period).
Michigan State, Connecticut and Colorado were the only Bowl Championship Series schools not to raise season ticket prices from 2005-08.
Season tickets are priced at $308 for the general public (from $41 to $44 per game), $252 for faculty/staff (from $33 to $36 per game) and Family Plan (end zone) season tickets are listed at $231 (from $30 to $33 per game). MSU's Family Plan is a unique ticket option in the Big Ten, accounting for nearly 30 percent of the public season-ticket sales.
Under the plan, student ticket prices ($136) will not increase for the fifth consecutive year and young alumni season ticket ($175) will remain the same for the second straight season.
All other season ticket prices, including men's basketball and ice hockey, will not increase for the 2009-2010 seasons.
"We are very sensitive to the environment that we live in today, making this a difficult but necessary decision," MSU Athletics Director Mark Hollis said. "While football ticket prices have remained the same since 2005, our operational costs have risen significantly, including scholarships (tuition, room and board), utilities, facility maintenance and transportation.
"The MSU Athletics Department isn't insulated from the current economic conditions that have impacted many residents in our state, and as a result, we have and will continue to conduct careful examinations of both revenue streams and expenditures. This price increase could generate in the neighborhood of $600,000 in additional ticket revenue, but that doesn't come anywhere near covering the increased operational costs. We have asked every unit within the Athletics Department to reduce expenditures by 10 percent. This follows a Department-imposed freeze on all non-sports operating budgets for the 2008-09 fiscal year.
"Spartan football season tickets continue to be one of the great values in the Big Ten Conference, with public season tickets priced in the mid-range of the conference, the family plan providing nearly 30 percent of our sales with a discounted seat, and scholarship seat donations required in approximately 20 percent of the stadium," Hollis said. "We continue to strive for championship success with true value for our fans."
Michigan State's season-ticket price for the general public remains in the middle of the Big Ten Conference. Prior to the increase, MSU's (general public) season-ticket price ranked sixth in the Big Ten, trailing Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Iowa and Illinois.
Single-game tickets also have increased $3 from $46 to $49, while the home game against Michigan remains priced at $70.
The Spartan Ticket Office will begin accepting online renewals from Michigan State football season-ticket holders on Monday, Feb. 16 at www.msuspartans.com. Season-ticket holders that complete the online renewal form and pay by E-Check save the $12 processing fee.
Michigan State has ranked among the NCAA's top 25 in football attendance each of the last 53 seasons, including No. 20 in 2008, averaging 74,858 fans per game. A total of 524,005 fans passed through the Spartan Stadium turnstiles for seven home games in 2008, as Michigan State drew more than .5 million for just the third time in school history and the first time since 2003. Last season, Michigan State sold 58,708 season tickets.
Spartan football generates nearly 70 percent of the Athletics Department's total revenue.
Third-year Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio and his team will tackle a demanding seven-game home schedule in 2009, including non-conference games against Montana State (Sept. 5), Central Michigan (Sept. 12) and Western Michigan (Nov. 7), plus Big Ten contests against Michigan (Oct. 3), Northwestern (Oct. 17), Iowa (Oct. 24) and Penn State (Nov. 21). The 2009 home schedule features five opponents that participated in postseason bowl games last season: Central Michigan (Motor City), Western Michigan (Texas), Northwestern (Alamo), Iowa (Outback) and Penn State (Rose).
Coach Dantonio expects to welcome back as many as 17 starters from last year's 9-4 team, including seven on offense, eight on defense and two specialists.
In 2008, Michigan State won nine regular-season games for the first time since 1999, made its first New Year's Day bowl appearance in nine years and finished No. 24 in the final Associated Press and USA TODAY Polls. The Spartans finished third in the Big Ten standings at 6-2 - their highest finish in the league standings since tying for second place in 1999 (6-2). MSU's only conference losses came against 2008 Big Ten co-champions Penn State and Ohio State.