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STATE JOURNAL ARCHIVES

The price of season tickets for University of Wisconsin football games and volleyball matches is going up for next season.

The UW Athletic Board on Friday approved an increase of $6 per game for football tickets and a range of increases for volleyball.

Season football tickets for 2018 will cost $378 for a seven-game season that includes three non-conference and four Big Ten Conference games. That’s a 12.5 percent increase, the first since the 2015 season. Ticket prices have increased $9 over the past 10 years.

UW officials said five Big Ten schools had higher base season ticket prices in 2017 than the $378 UW is charging for 2018. Ohio State tops the list at $695, followed by Michigan ($430), Iowa ($405), Nebraska ($399) and Penn State ($385).

Factoring in mandatory per-seat contributions, UW ticket prices would continue to rank 10th in the Big Ten. Some conference schools have yet to set ticket prices for the upcoming season.

The board was expected to vote on a proposal to boost student tickets from $24 to $27 per game, but that vote was postponed until next month’s meeting.

The athletic department is looking at a $2.9 million deficit for 2018-19 and the increase is expected to generate an additional $2 million in revenue.

Jeff Wiesner, co-chair of the Finance, Facilities and Operations Committee, said the deficit was caused by a number of factors, including increases in salaries and a growing percentage of out-of-state scholarship athletes.

Law School professor Gretchen Viney was the only board member to vote against the football ticket hike.

The increase in volleyball season tickets received unanimous approval by the board.

Prices this season will vary depending on the seat location. Season tickets for about 570 reserved seats will go from $65 to $100, while other reserved locations will cost $85.

General admission season tickets will increase $10 to $60 for adults and $5 to $30 for youth and seniors. A four-pack of general admission season tickets will rise from $99 to $125.

Prices for individual matches will increase $2, to $9 for reserved seats and $7 for general admission.

The volleyball team sold out all but one of its 16 matches last season, averaging 5,927 tickets sold per match to rank third nationally in attendance behind Nebraska and Hawaii.

Capacity at the UW Field House will increase next season with the anticipated reopening of at least part of the balcony. Details of the number of new seats available have not been determined yet, but UW coach Kelly Sheffield expects the atmosphere at matches to only be enhanced.

“I want our home match environment to be better than everybody,” said Sheffield, who addressed the board at the start of the meeting. “Nebraska has led the nation in attendance since the sport of volleyball was invented in the 1800s I think. It’s time to go after them. Hopefully, we’re not too many years away from that. I’m fired up that we’re at a point that we’re bursting at the seams to open that. The next step is can we create a need where it’s a hard ticket to get even when we open the upper deck.”

The Badgers were 22-10 and ranked No. 12 last season and Sheffield expects that they’ll be ranked in the top three at the start of next season.

“It should be on paper the most talented team we’ve had,” he said. “This is a team that can make a run at it.”

Sheffield was one of four coaches whose contracts were renewed by the board Friday.

Football coach Paul Chryst and Sheffield had their five-year contracts renewed through Jan. 31, 2023.

The three-year contracts of women’s soccer coach Paula Wilkins and men’s soccer coach John Trask were renewed through Jan. 31, 2021.

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Dennis Punzel covers Wisconsin Badgers volleyball, women's basketball for the Wisconsin State Journal.