LINCOLN — The Memorial Stadium expansion project that will bump Nebraska football attendance beyond 90,000 a game could provide a rare moment in time when — at least temporarily — supply comes close to meeting demand for Husker football season tickets.
NU has 5,000-plus new East Stadium seats to work with during the renewal and application process, making it so those previously on a waiting list, those looking to buy and even current season-ticket holders seeking more could be in position to be accommodated over the coming months.
“It's an opportunity that doesn't come along very often, so we think people will jump on the chance,” said Holly Adam, the Huskers' assistant athletic director for ticketing who said NU previously has never been able to match all season ticket requests in her 18 years with the department.
The $63.5 million project, to be completed before next season, will add 3,000 regular seats and around 2,100 club seats, in addition to 38 suites.
Both current season ticket-holders and new applicants will have the opportunity to move into the new seats. Current season ticket-holders wishing to move from anywhere else in the stadium can denote their request on their renewal invoice or online.
Whether fans get the new East Stadium seats will be determined by their level of donation per seat. A seating chart at www.huskers.com/memorialstadium includes a projected donation necessary for particular sections.
Nebraska is hoping to have the renewal process completed and the majority of new requests in hand by April 1, then begin the seating process. Adam said new requests currently stand at just more than 2,600 for the 3,000 regular seats.
“I think we're fine where we are,” she said. “It's early yet.”
As far as the waiting list, Nebraska updates it every season to make sure it remains current and accurate, which requires prospective buyers that can't be helped one season to re-apply the next. A year ago, Adam said, NU was unable to meet a little over 400 season ticket requests.
Adam said the Huskers Athletic Fund sent out a survey via SurveyMonkey before East Stadium construction began to gauge potential interest. Part of it included asking respondents what they might be interested in donating per seat.
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“We wanted to expand to an attendance mark that closely matched what we needed,” Adam said. “It's good to have statistical data to back it up.”
There wasn't as much mystery with Memorial Stadium suites. Nebraska Associate Athletic Director Paul Meyers said the waiting list was at 25 when the project was in the blueprint stage in 2010, and all 38 new ones already were under contract when it was announced a year later.
“As we got into the project we knew that we had higher demand than the 25, so we decided to build a few additional,” Meyers said. “Even after, there'll still be a waiting list.”
With more season tickets on the way, the ticket office started directing people to the online waiting list last fall. The NU marketing and athletic media relations departments then helped a few weeks back with a push around football signing day.
Applicants must put down a $50 deposit per ticket requested, which goes toward your total season ticket cost if you're granted tickets or is refunded if you are not.
Also, Nebraska likely will hold some of the new seats for visiting fans to meet criteria laid out by the Big Ten that a certain amount need to be between the 20-yard lines.
Going forward, NU will try to keep adding to the NCAA-record sellout streak that currently sits at 325 games. Although attendances will start exceeding 90,000 in 2013, the listed capacity next season is expected to be in the 87,000 range.
The upper balcony of East Stadium — bench seats but with a back rest — will be the highest outdoor seats in Memorial Stadium and offer a unique view. Adam said both the access and amenities will be top-notch.
The new club seats will sit between two levels of suites, which already rise above the old east balcony. As with those in West Stadium, Adam said the club seats will be in high demand.
Although Adam said the staff thought opening the sections during the April 6 spring game would allow fans to get a view and feel from the newest angles, the ongoing construction will not allow for it.
“But people who come down to the game will kind of get an idea,” she said.
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