The C-USA Ticket Disaster
It was only 2 years ago when UTEP Athletics decided to pack the house for the CBI Tournament. Since the Gazelle Group (who own the CBI) informed the university that they would have to cover a $75,000 guarantee for every home game, the UTEP Athletic Department made every seat in the Haskins Center priced at $10 (except for the $25 floor seats). The results were outstanding; every game sold out and the Miners attracted a different kind of fan. Many arrived early to ensure they would have the best seat available (first come, first serve) and were loud during pregame warm ups. I don’t know how many of those fans have been back to watch the Miners, but I know the athletic department would love for them to return. Will they at $80 for an all-session ticket at the C-USA Tournament?
Even though UTEP is the tournament host site, they do not have any financial commitment at stake. If the games are poorly attended, then UTEP will take much of the public criticism but not have to worry about the million dollar guarantee. That responsibility will fall on the City, the County, and the Sports Commission. Small crowds could prevent El Paso from hosting a future C-USA or NCAA basketball tournament.
Another problem is that few fans actually know where to go in order to purchase all-session tickets. The advertising is so poor that many fans do not even know how much the tickets are priced at and where they can go to buy them. Currently, the only place in town that tickets are only being offered is at the UTEP Season Ticket Office. I do expect UTEP to soon announce that individual game tickets will be available at the UTEP Ticket Center and Ticketmaster. When that happens is anyone’s guess.