The Gophers are slashing some of their season ticket prices, hoping to boost sagging attendance numbers for men's basketball and men's hockey games.
On Thursday, the athletic department announced that season tickets for men's basketball will start at $340, the lowest price since the 1995-96 season, and men's hockey season tickets will start at $500, down from $600 one year earlier.
"I think it's important to listen, collect information and then make the best decisions for our programs," athletic director Mark Coyle said in a news release. "That's what our staff did. They took feedback, studied the data and were able to find solutions."
The Gophers are reducing prices for their cheapest season tickets, but their more expensive packages will cost the same. In those more expensive sections, the ticket prices are lower but the mandatory scholarship seating donation price increased, making the changes a wash.
The men's hockey team's averaged announced attendance was close to 3M Arena at Mariucci's 10,000 capacity for years. That number was 9,595 as recently as three seasons ago before dropping to 8,726 and 7,944 the past two seasons.
When the Gophers opened Big Ten tournament play, they played host to Michigan for a first-round series that was not part of their fans' season ticket package. The Gophers swept the Wolverines, but the more eye-opening story was the attendance figures — an announced 1,835 and 1,911 — with the boys' hockey state tournament running concurrently at Xcel Energy Center.
The men's basketball team has a 14,625 seating capacity at Williams Arena, but average announced attendance has been thousands below that for years.
The Gophers averaged 10,774 for home games this season, down from 11,850 one year earlier, but up from the 10,309 they drew two years ago.
Under the new pricing, 17 sections at Williams Arena will have season tickets available for $340, a drop of $190 from this past season. The Gophers also reduced six other sections at the Barn directly overlooking the court from $640 to $490.
For men's hockey, five of the 24 sections will have season tickets starting at $500, which is $200 less than the price charged for those seats two seasons ago. The Gophers also reduced four other sections from $800 to $700.
"We live in a vibrant community and state where entertainment options are endless," Coyle said in the release. "We have to be extremely competitive and creative with the options we offer, while still making sure that we provide every opportunity for our student-athletes. We will continue to explore additional options for all our sports in the future."