MINNEAPOLIS - Gopher fans are still basking in the glory of last month's NCAA Tournament victory.
Now, as they look to next fall, they may see another morale boost: The University of Minnesota has announced a substantial price drop in base season ticket prices, not only for men's basketball but also for men's hockey.
Base prices for hoops at have decreased by $190, and base prices for hockey have dropped by $200 compared to two seasons ago. For context, the cheapest ticket to a men's basketball game in the upper deck of Williams Arena will run about $340 per year, or roughly $20 per game. In hockey, the cheapest ticket will run $500, or $25 per game.
Nadine Babu, the co-owner of fan message board GopherHole.com, said the initial reaction among posters was positive.
"If a lot of new fans do come and get season tickets, it's going to be a better home atmosphere," Babu said. "I saw the immediate elation about the lowering of the ticket prices."
But some fans also started tweeting at the Gophers' Twitter account — once they realized not all seats would be cheaper.
One season ticket holder in men's basketball, for example, pointed out that while his lower-level Zone 2 ticket price has dropped, his savings are offset because the university raised the price of his required donation (known as a Scholarship Seating contribution).
The U didn't raise anyone's prices, but with those donations included, the upper-deck seats will see the majority of the cost savings whereas most lower-level seats will cost the same as last year. For hockey, the same concept applies: The cheaper tickets have gotten cheaper, whereas most of the better seats will see no change at all with the donation included.
Babu said some fans were frustrated because they realized their lower-level resell values would drop, even though they won't see any savings themselves.
"Especially if you're trying to give your tickets away or sell them for a certain game, you don't have that value because it's all in that seat on donation — which isn't reflected in the ticket price," Babu said. "However, I think a lot of people are excited that it didn't go up.
The university's goal is to fill both arenas by lowering the prices of the cheapest seats.
In a statement on the official Gopher website, Athletics Director Mark Coyle said the price change is a result of listening to feedback and studying data.
"Our goal is to make Gopher athletics accessible to as many fans as possible," Coyle said, "and I believe we have done that."
Babu said she can get behind that idea.
"You want a loud, rocking Barn, the way it used to be," Babu said, "So hopefully this gets some more fans back there."