RiseToOccasionThese are catch your breath times for University of Louisville athletic fans. Here we sit as the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Basketball Tournament, having won the first two games, advancing to the Sweet 16, with Las Vegas giving UofL three-to-one odds to win the whole thing.

Tickets are in great demand, of course. Everybody wants them but so few to be had outside of StubHub.

A close friend, a long-time UofL supporter, says he was told that the University only had 250 tickets available to the general public after making provisions for the official party, family members and friends, and those familiar faces behind the bench. He told me eligibility for those tickets required having made a minimum donation of $100,000 to the school. Even at that level, he said one is not guaranteed tickets. I have no reason to doubt him.

The higher the donation the better the odds of being included in the university’s allocation. That’s probably as it should be, the school rewarding the more generous donors. Similar systems are in effect at all major universities, and UofL is no exception. It just takes some getting used to for many long-time supporters with easier access in the past.

A couple of decades ago, one could get on the phone, place a few calls to people at the university and be confident of getting tickets to even the most prestigious events. Things have changed. Louisville just won the BCS Sugar Bowl in football, is a national contender in almost every sport, and has been accepted into the Atlantic Coast Conference. The UofL athletic program is among the most profitable and successful in the country.

My big donor friend may have disappointed about not getting tickets, but it doesn’t affect his affinity for the university, having given generously over the years to make success possible. “We’ve just decided to not request any more tickets, spend our money on the secondary market and not donate nearly like the old days,” he said.

Regardless of what he says, I believe he will continue to be very supportive. While our giving levels differ substantialy, one will continue to support a university that has meant so much to our families. UofL is a large part of who we are, and the athletic program’s continued growth is essential to our aspirations, having helped provide a foundation for that success.

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

One thought on “Even some big donors go wanting for tickets”
  1. I can’t believe how mind mindbogglingly stupid this is.

    My guess it’s to protect small schools who may not be able to sell a large quantity of tickets – thus they put almost all tickets on the market ahead of time in case 3-4 teams are paired that will not bring in many travelers. I understand doing this but they need to do something. 540 seats is ludicrously small. This is the internet age. They could sell tickets to the public at X dollars with upgrade rights later. If schools are offered an extra 5k seats and decline to purchase them to resale to their team the rights could revert back to the ticketing agency who could offer the tickets up for sale or for “upgrading” of seats that were previously purchased. As it stands there are still plenty of seats that can be bought from the NCAA, not including the ticket exchange seats. If it ends up being sucky teams it’s not going to be significantly worse than the setup they have already.

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