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Strong Renewal … A Great Problem But It Makes Changing Ticket Location A Difficult Job

Aug. 9, 2006

The 2006 football season is here and within the next few days you will have received your tickets. (Parking placards will not be included in the season ticket mailing, but will be mailed about a week later.) This process began in March and is aligned with our IPTAY donation requirement to complete 50% of your pledge by the March 15th deadline. Once we received 50% of the pledge, we then use this donor list to generate and send out a season ticket application. By establishing this date, it has significantly made our ticket process more efficient and effective from an internal business operational aspect. However, because of our strong renewal tradition of season tickets, our Ticket Office has little, if any, flexibility, particularly from the requests we receive to improve ticket locations.

This year our IPTAY donors requested changes in seat assignments and made new ticket purchases that involved over 17,000 tickets. The Ticket Office has spent nearly five weeks reviewing each individual request in priority order. All requests for seat assignments are based on available seating within the priority point system. This is a fundamental aspect of utilizing our IPTAY priority point system as a fair and equitable process to assign tickets.

Requests for assignments involved over 17,000 tickets with less than 300 premium seats becoming available between the 35-yard lines in both the North and South lower deck. I hope by reading this article you can see that we have very little latitude to change current seat assignments. With that said, the IPTAY Board along with the Athletic Department, is currently developing a seat equity plan.

One of the main issues we are evaluating is the sensitivity in implementing this plan is to consider our long-term donors who have been season tickets holders. However, it is imperative we move forward and implement a seat equity plan to accommodate the demand we have for ticket requests and improvement.

One of the various seat equity plans we are examining will allow long-term season ticket holders to keep their seats; however, depending on their location, their IPTAY membership level will need to increase, based on the value associated with the stadium location, which has yet to be established.

This plan is in its initial stages of discussion with the IPTAY Board and our staff. There will be a communication plan and time-line that we will be following which will be comprehensive in scope to ensure all our donors are informed once we decide on the direction we will take with our seat equity plan. I can assure you our philosophy is to seriously consider and evaluate every donor’s request; however, it is a monumental dilemma with the few seats that open up annually.

I’d like to point out that of the Top 20 football programs that rank in attendance, which Clemson ranks 16th, all 19 programs except Clemson have implemented some type of seat equity or have reseated their stadiums.

The ticket seat equity program will not be implemented until the 2008 season and will need to be endorsed by the IPTAY Board of Directors. Once the seat equity plan is approved we will utilize the entire 2007 season to communicate, articulate and explain all the various options that will be available.

In order to give you a perspective of what we are dealing with regarding ticket assignments, please consult the chart below. You can see even IPTAY donors at the Heisman level have few opportunities to change or improve seating based on the 300-plus seats that were available due to attrition.

Clemson is very fortunate to have such a strong following of season ticket holders and support. The entire Athletic Department wants to say a special thanks for purchasing season tickets and for their support of the IPTAY Annual Fund.

2006 IPTAY Level Requests Concerning Seat Assignments
Heisman 816
Fike/Endowment 636
IPTAY 3,147
Tiger 5,859
Champion 2,288
Orange 3,018
Gold 1,263
Regular 26
Total 17,053

As stated previously, parking placards will be mail separately from the season ticket orders. The placards are currently being packaged for delivery and will be mailed soon. Similar to tickets, the donor list for parking was generated from those IPTAY donors that had paid 50% of their pledge by the March 15th deadline. However, in contrast to tickets, parking assignments are reevaluated each year allowing flexibility in parking improvements based on a donor’s level of giving and their priority points within their level.

Each donor’s account is handled individually by the parking committee to ensure that all parking spaces are assigned based on priority and the number of tickets ordered. This process, while lengthy, is necessary to apply a fair and equitable process to our parking assignments. Overall the result is that an IPTAY donor’s parking space may be different from season-to-season. If an IPTAY donor’s parking assignment is different from their 2005 location, it was done for one of four reasons: First, the donor may have requested a change in their parking assignment. The chart below shows the number of requests for changes for 2006. Second, a donor may have been reassigned because their 2005 space was already assigned when their account was reviewed from the donor priority list. Third, a donor’s space could have also been reassigned if that donor decided to decrease their annual giving amount, thus changing their priority and in some cases eligibility for reserved parking (i.e. a decrease from $1400 to $700). Finally, a donor may have been reassigned because of construction. Many donors in 2005 were relocated because of the construction to the WestZone. A similar situation occurred this year at the intersection near the entrance to the Cemetery where over 35 spaces were lost due to construction.

2006 IPTAY Level Requests for changes in parking
Heisman 82
Endowment/Fike 82
IPTAY 492
Tiger 1343
Champion 700
Orange 998
Total 3,697

As in 2005, if there are mistakes in your parking assignment, the committee will address each issue and make a decision. Every effort will be made to communicate either through email, a letter, or a phone call to discuss our options. However, the volume of calls and requests will take time to address so your patience is appreciated.

As always, IPTAY and Clemson Athletics thank you for your support as we all look forward to another exciting season of Clemson Tiger Football.

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