Last week, the "Seat Yourself" process for Nebraska football season ticketholders began. For the first time ever, ticketholders can go online and browse seats that were not renewed for this upcoming season. Starting with the biggest donors and working their way downward through the priority list, the process rolled out with the best donors having first crack at any open seats. Fans can either purchase additional seats, or exchange their current seats for other seats that are open.
According to Randy York's N-Sider, approximately 3,500 seats are available through this process. 500 of these tickets are single seats that previously have been sold on a per-game basis for years. The other seats were not renewed for any number of reasons: fans have moved, died, or simply chosen not to renew.
Most, but not all, seats come with a per-seat donation requirement. The only seats that don't require a donation are in the North Stadium, rows 90 through 99. As seats get closer to the field, donation requirements increase. End zone seats start at a $750 per seat donation level, and gradually decrease to $150 in the upper reaches of the end zones. The new upper deck seats start at the $500 donation for seats along the 50 yard line, and decrease to $150 in the corners. West stadium seats start at $1000 donation levels in the corners, increasing to $2500 per seat donation levels as you approach the 50 yard line. With faculty and staff occupying much of the East stadium, only four sections are available near the 50 yard line, with donation levels comparable to similar seats in the West Stadium.
Over the last couple of weeks, the athletic department has automatically scheduled times for each fan to participate in the process. My turn came up Monday afternoon, but I didn't have a chance to give it a try until late that evening. I wasn't sure I would take advantage of the process, but figured I had nothing to lose. My seats aren't great, but they are in the middle of the field. I actually have two pairs of tickets; they are in the same row, but are eight seats apart. I acquired the first two in 1992 when Nebraska converted a large block of student tickets that were no longer being purchased by students. Yep, I got in during that lull from the despair of the Georgia Tech blowout loss and just prior to that amazing freshman quarterback named Tommie Frazier. Best decision I ever made, except for asking my wife to marry me, of course.
But my wife presented a challenge, as I acquired the tickets prior to meeting her... and she was a huge Husker fan as well. So in 1999, when the first suites opened, I was able to get the other two nearby seats so she was able to go. Not the optimal solution, mind you. But usually workable to get us into the games.
When I started browsing the "seat yourself" selections, I found pairs of seats available throughout the stadium. If I really wanted to spend for primo tickets, I could have done so easily. But I also could have done that ten years ago, if I really wanted to do that. I was being more selective; I didn't want to increase my donation level.
But then I spotted four seats together in my same section, but 10 rows lower than my current seats. I'll probably have to increase my donation level $100, but after consulting with my wife, we agreed that it'll be much nicer to sit together...and well worth the additional expense. So Tuesday morning, we switched.
The "Seat Yourself" process continues through May 20th, and will eventually roll out to fans who are on the waiting list for tickets. The ticket office is currently soliciting additional fans who want to join the wait list and be the next in line to obtain tickets. There is a $25 charge required to joint the wait list.
Of course, this raises the question as to whether the East Stadium expansion has caused the supply of Husker football tickets to exceed demand. Right now, at this time, it appears it may have. While fans at most schools would be gladly accept nine and ten win seasons on a regular basis, at Nebraska, that's considered sub-par. It's clear that demand is down right now, and that's created an opening for fans who want to become ticketholders. Depending on the future fortunes of Nebraska football, this might not be an opening that lasts long. Trophies have a way of increasing demand, and who knows how long this lull in demand will last.