New Student Seating Unveiled
Revised Plan For Men’s Hoops Announced, Winter Sports Gold Pass System Finalized
Published: Thursday, September 26, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 26, 2013 07:09
While the Boston College men’s basketball team begins work on closing a competition gap with the top ACC teams in the hopes of an NCAA Tournament bid this season, the BC athletic department has helped close another gap. The new seating plan in Conte Forum for men’s basketball games was approved by the conference yesterday afternoon, and will go into effect for the home opener against Toledo on Nov. 14.
Director of Athletics Brad Bates told students last February that they would be put right on top of the court, and the plan delivers on that statement. There are 166 new seats, exclusively for students, spanning the sideline opposite the team benches, according to documents provided by the athletic department. The first 166 students in Conte for a game will receive wristbands granting access to the six sidelines sections, which each have two rows, as well as the away hockey bench area. The seats will be directly behind one row of courtside seats available to the general public. Moving the media behind one of the baselines created space for these seats.
Students who don’t arrive early enough to grab a sideline wristband are still getting a seat upgrade. The baseline seats behind the baskets remain general admission for students and have been pushed up, eliminating the wide gap between the court and the seats from previous seasons. On the side closest to the home bench, there will be one row of courtside seats available to the general public behind the baseline, with students standing directly behind those seats. Student seating will start right at the edge of the court on the baseline closest to the visting bench.
“Coach Donahue was a big proponent of this move and I think it will make a huge impact on our game atmosphere,” Bates said in a statement.
The upcoming basketball and hockey seasons also means that the full implications of the Gold Pass, a new student season-ticketing system which grants access to all BC sports on ID cards for $175, will go into effect. So far, 5,531 Gold Passes have been sold, and Conte Forum will hold 2,200 student seats for both major winter sports, meaning there is space for roughly 40 percent of Gold Pass holders. The 2,200 student seats make up 26 percent of the 8,606-person capacity for men’s basketball games and 28 percent of the 7,884-person capacity for men’s hockey games.
This does not mean, though, that only 2,200 students will get into each game. The athletic department plans to monitor ticket sales and review data from previous years to approximate how many unsold tickets there will be from the pool for the general public. The first 2,200 students to arrive at a game will have their hands stamped, granting general admission access to the student sections, but any students who arrive after that 2,200 number reaches capacity will be handed paper tickets to specific seats unclaimed by the general public until those run out. Once those pre-determined, reserved seats for students have all been taken, any remaining students trying to get into the game will be turned away at the gate.
This 2,200 number will not apply to women’s basketball or women’s hockey, but instead the operations and ticket offices will determine on a game-by-game basis if a cutoff is needed.
“Our students are our top priority,” Bates said. “In order for us to create the best competitive environment in the ACC and Hockey East, we must have their support. These initiatives were the result of input from student focus groups this past summer and hours of discussion and planning by our staff based on our students’ suggestions. We will continue to seek input from our students as we implement more changes in the future. We’re always open to suggestions.”
With men’s basketball and men’s hockey also comes the new process for high-demand games. A week or two prior to one of the high-demand games, the athletic department will determine the reward point total needed by a student to gain access to Conte. Athletics will then send an email to a first round of students who qualify for the game because of their point total. These students will be able to pick up a paper ticket to the game, which is irreplaceable if lost, within a certain time frame.
Students can earn reward points by attending designated games for both revenue and Olympic sports and by arriving 30 minutes early to certain games. Points will also be awarded to students for attending the Homecoming pep rally next Friday night. Point totals and standings can be tracked at BCEaglesUnited.com.
There has been a significant increase in attendance at Olympic sports so far this semester with the implementation of the Gold Pass, according to the athletic department. The crowd for the BC men’s soccer game against No. 2 Notre Dame last Saturday reached Newton Campus Field’s 2,000-person capacity.
A second round of ticketing will follow for high-demand games if students with the initial point requirement don’t claim all of the 2,200 paper tickets. The required reward point number for entrance will be lessened, and athletics will send an email to students with the smaller total letting them know that tickets to the game are available on a first-come first-served basis. If there are still tickets available after this second round, an email will go out to the rest of the students with Gold Passes saying they can claim the remaining tickets.
Men’s hockey against Wisconsin on Oct. 18 and against BU on Jan. 17, as well as men’s basketball against Syracuse on Jan. 13, against Duke on Feb. 8, and against Notre Dame on Feb. 14, are currently scheduled as the five high-demand games, but more may be added to the list as each team’s season goes on, depending on perceived demand.