Last year’s success means getting tickets for the VCU mens basketball team is pretty darn difficult
Last season, Ram fans experienced the reality of a post Final Four Stuart C. Siegel Center: tickets are scarce. Sure, the Wednesday night Towson game was lightly attended, but the standing room only crowds against University of Richmond and Old Dominion University pushed the capacity of the 7,617 seat venue to the brink. By the end of the season, VCU was one of five elite basketball programs to sell out every game of the season.
Next season is sure to push the limit even further. With tickets, the experience will match if not exceed most venues nationally, but many will be left out on the sidewalks of Broad Street as season tickets sales rapidly exceed any precedent at VCU.
The East and West end of the “Stu” hold a combined 2,000 student seats that are first come first serve. That leaves the roughly 5,617 remaining seats to the Ram fans willing to quickly spend dollars for the right to witness “HAVOC” in person.
Meghan Millar, the Director of Ticketing for VCU Athletics adds, “Currently, we have sold close to 1,000 new season tickets and as of today, the stadium will be 90% sold through season ticket sales.”
After playing for years in the Richmond Coliseum, the Rams moved to the $30.1 million Siegel Center. In the “Stu’s” debut, VCU fell behind Louisville by 20 points. Led by Bo Jones, the Rams caught fire and VCU beat Louisville 79-74 in front of 7,369 fans. Gradually attendance fell until the 2004-2005 season after VCU lost a heartbreaker to Wake Forest in the 2004 NCAA Tournament. Season ticket sales have spiked after every trip to the big dance, and next season’s leap will likely push the 13 year old venue to capacity.
While the increase in season tickets sales and attendance is relatively predictable, student attendance is sporadic. It is understandably difficult to draw 2,000 students to the games during winter break, but fewer students attended the post Final 4 season than the lukewarm 2010-11 regular season when the Rams lost their final three home games in disheartening fashion.
The 2012-13 team will enter the Stuart C. Siegel Center as one of the most talented squads in VCU history. Coach Shaka Smart will finally have a roster comprised of only players he recruited.* Occupy West-end (an organized movement to get the West-end student section to stand) will be in full force, and home games like University of Richmond and Butler will likely garner national attention. With 18 consecutive home sellouts, the Siegel Center is in the midst of a golden era. The 2012-13 season will see new heights, experiences and records as Shaka Smart and Co. continue capturing the imagination of Richmond and the Ram Nation.
*Correction: Senior David Hinton is not a Shaka Smart recruit.