LSU seeks ticket price hike, citing storm-related losses

BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU's athletic department is pushing for a price hike for football tickets this fall -- a year earlier than scheduled -- saying hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused a budget crunch.

The proposed ticket increase would boost the cost of Tradition Fund contributions, which are required to purchase tickets in most areas of Tiger Stadium, and the cost of one Southeastern Conference game.

The maximum increase a ticketholder could face next season for an individual seat is $109 -- a $100 increase in the Tradition Fund contribution and a $9 increase in the ticket for one SEC game.

The ticket increase proposal goes first to the Executive Committee of the LSU Board of Supervisors. If the committee approves it next week, the plan goes before the full board Feb. 3, according to the university athletic department.

In a statement, LSU athletic director Skip Bertman said ticket hikes are inevitable, but the latest price increase request was hastened by the hurricanes. The athletic department estimates it lost an estimated $3.4 million because of the storms.

LSU had to move a home game to Arizona and shift its home opener against North Texas to later in the season, and the athletic department had other expenses during hurricane recovery efforts, when some of its facilities were used in evacuation efforts.

"Although the cost of running the athletics program increases each year, we didn't plan to raise prices this season. Unfortunately, the impact of the recent hurricanes has forced us to accelerate the need to make these price increases now," Bertman said.

The plan calls for Tradition Fund prices -- already as much as $400 in some stadium locations -- to increase by $100 for sideline seats and west Tiger Terrace seats, $50 for west upper deck chair back seats and $20 for west upper deck bench back and end zone seats.

The ticket price for one of the season's SEC games would cost $45; the price for all other games would remain $36.

All of the stadium's east upper deck seating is maintained by the Tiger Athletic Foundation and requires contributions to the TAF. No increases to TAF contributions, which already are higher than Tradition Fund contributions, are proposed.