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Pauley Pavilion seating gets complicated

UCLA creates a point system that rewards donors and loyal basketball fans for when the arena is renovated.

July 01, 2009|David Wharton

It seemed to be a daunting task when UCLA announced plans to drag the aging and architecturally troublesome Pauley Pavilion into the 21st century.

Now comes a seemingly more complex undertaking -- the point system administrators have created to determine the pecking order by which fans get to choose their seats.

The university unveiled a plan Tuesday that ranks ticket holders, giving credit to alumni, loyal season-ticket holders and, most of all, donors who help pay for the $185-million renovation.

While Athletic Director Dan Guerrero called it an effort to "recognize the longtime supporter of UCLA athletics," it appears many fans will pay more to remain at or near their current locations when the arena reopens in 2012.

The exact increases won't be clear until late next week when ticket holders receive personalized statements informing them of their ranking.

"Obviously everyone is concerned about what it's going to cost," said Chuck Winner, a prominent booster who added he does not oppose increases because "they help the program."

Courtside seats will require a $500,000 donation to the capital campaign, payable over five years, plus an annual donation of $17,000 per seat to the Wooden Athletic Fund.

That puts the annual cost of two seats close to the action at $134,000 over the first five years. (UCLA played 18 games and two exhibitions at home last season.)

A one-time donation of $30,000 or more assures up to four seats mostly between the baskets in the lower half of the bowl. Those tickets require annual Wooden fund donations of $2,000 to $4,000 per seat, plus the face value of the tickets.

On Tuesday, the university also announced that it is addressing a major concern about the proposed renovation, which now calls for an outer concourse that wraps around the entire building instead of only three sides.

But in a tough economy, design concerns will probably take a back seat.

In past seasons, the university asked for only the face value plus a Wooden fund donation. Some fans sitting between the baskets joined the donor group when the cost was about $1,700 a year and never had fees raised. They are looking at substantial increases.

Making the situation more complex, the point system -- to be posted on the athletic program's website this afternoon -- will not finalize rankings until March 2011.

The top 125 point holders choose from the best seats, followed by fans in the 126-525 range and so forth. Ticket holders near the bottom of a category could get bumped if someone below them earns more points with a late donation.

According to a seating diagram that will also be posted today, the student section will remain at about 2,000 seats but will be switched to the southern side of the court and wrap around the end line. The faculty and staff section will increase to about 850 seats.

Guerrero said that UCLA has $53 million in donations and pledges for the project, which goes before the UC Regents this month.




What they earn

A look at the point system that will determine how UCLA men's basketball season-ticket holders "rank" for seating in a renovated Pauley Pavilion, which will debut in 2012-13:

100 points each for UCLA alumni and former UCLA student-athletes who were letter winners.

25 points for each consecutive year season tickets were purchased.

20 points for each consecutive year achieving annual donor status in the Wooden Athletic Fund.

5 points for every $100 pledged in writing or given to the Campaign of Champions by Dec. 31, 2009.

3 points for every $100 pledged in writing or given to the Campaign of Champions from Jan. 1, 2010, to April 30, 2010.

1 point for every $100 pledged in writing or given to the Campaign of Champions from May 1, 2010, to March 31, 2011.

1 point for every $100 donated lifetime to UCLA athletics.

1 point for every $1,000 donated lifetime to UCLA for non-athletic purposes (minimum $100,000 donation).

Note: The points program will also be used to determine seating for the 2011-12 season when UCLA plays in alternative venues.

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