‘Lopes Pass Is Ticket to Sweetheart Deal for Basketball Fans

June 22, 2012 / by / 0 Comment

By Bob Romantic
GCU News Bureau

GCU’s home-court advantage in basketball is about to get even bigger.

A new season-ticket package is being offered to employees of the University that is “definitely a bargain and then some,” said Jamie Santiago, director of marketing for GCU Arena.

The ’Lopes Pass season-ticket package costs $50 and includes four general-admission tickets to every men’s and women’s home basketball game, as well as free food and drink at the tailgate party on the Quad outside the Arena before each game.

Although the schedules for both teams are still being finalized, there are expected to be about 19 home dates between the two, with most of those being men’s/women’s doubleheaders. Those 19 home dates average out to 66 cents per ticket for each of the four general-admission seats in the ’Lopes Pass package.

You can’t go to a high school game in Arizona for that price.

GCU Arena was packed last Nov. 5 for the first men's basketball game in the team's new digs as the Antelopes took on Arizona State University in an exhibition.

Throw in the free tailgate party (hamburgers, hot dogs, etc.), and 66 cents doesn’t come close to covering the cost.

“It’s meant to get as many of our employees to come and enjoy basketball and really understand and believe and commit to the movement we have on our main campus,” said Kyle Mockler, box office manager for the Arena.

The tailgate party was originated last year for alumni of GCU but is being extended to all season-ticket holders this season.

“Really, our movement is to try and fill this arena,” Mockler said. “We want to have the highest percentage of seats filled in Division II. That will help us moving forward as we make our case to go Division I.”

Last season – the first in GCU Arena – the Antelopes ranked ninth in Division II with an average attendance of 2,278 for 16 men’s basketball regular-season home games. That was nearly twice the average of 1,175 from 2010-11, when games were played in Antelope Gym.

Three games were near-sellouts: an exhibition game against Arizona State University; a game Feb. 22 against Chaminade that included a halftime exhibition between employees of the GCU campuses in Peoria and Tempe; and the final home game against Dixie State in which Braylon Pickrel hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that sent GCU to the NCAA Division II tournament.

“After we saw the ASU game, that was something we wanted to strive for in every game,” Mockler said. “Obviously you can’t sell out every game, but it got us thinking about different ideas to get more people and more employees into basketball games.

“It’s quite the home-court advantage when you have an arena like this packed full, especially in Division II.”

GCU’s men’s team was 15-1 at home last season, while the women were 12-3.

“One of the things last year was we had great home attendance,” GCU men’s coach Russ Pennell said. “When we’re on the road, sometimes we’re playing in front of 75-100 people.

“And when other teams come here, they’re not used to playing in front of so many people.”

Already, 165 ’Lopes Pass packages were sold in the last week when Pennell and the Arena staff visited the Peoria and Tempe campuses. Santiago said that puts the total season ticket sales for those sites on par with employees on the main campus in Phoenix. The ’Lopes Pass offer was made to main campus employees on Thursday.

General-admission seats are located on the north end of the Arena and much of the east side. Reserved season tickets also can be purchased for $120 or $250 per seat. For ticket information, call 639.8970 or email Mark Mueller at mark.mueller@gcu.edu.

Contact Bob Romantic at 639.7611 or bob.romantic@gcu.edu.

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