October 8, 2009 PRINT Bookmark and Share

Slower Sales Prompts Change in Frozen Four Seating Configuration

CHN Staff Report

INDIANAPOLIS — With ticket sales not going as briskly as was hoped or expected, the NCAA and Frozen Four organizers have changed the seating configuration for Ford Field. The change lowers the capacity from an effective 60,000-plus to approximately 36,000.

The Frozen Four will be played this year, for the first time, in a football stadium venue. After selling out 10 straight years, that track record was already going to be tested.

Under the new configuration, instead of the rink being situation at midfield, it will be moved to the west end zone, and the opposite end zone seats will be closed off. A riser system will be set up on the east side of the ice. (See below)

Without acknowledging the slower-than-hoped sales, Joni Comstock, NCAA senior vice president of championships, said, "With this championship having more available seats than in previous years, as well as taking sight lines and the current economy into consideration, we felt this design was the best for everyone involved. The fans and student-athletes who are a part of this historic event will be talking about the championship for years to come."

NCAA spokesperson Cameron Schuh did acknowledge, however, that 22,000 seats had been "accounted for" so far. This includes sales to the general public, plus the NCAA's allotment to the participating schools, local organizers and various dignitaries. In a typical year, in an NHL-sized arena, that would be a sell out.

Clearly, however, when the committee awarded the bid five years ago, it envisioned hockey fans embracing the unique nature of an event in a 60,000-seat stadium — just as fans have filled football stadiums for various special outdoor games. But those expectations have fallen short so far.

"This bid was awarded in September 2005, almost 5 years ago, and there's other things that have happened as well — one being the economic climate," Schuh said.

"At the end of the day, there's going to be 36,000 available seats, which is far more than any Frozen Four have ever offered."

Fans that have already purchased tickets to the 2010 Men’s Frozen Four through Ticketmaster will be relocated to comparable seats in the new configuration. In addition, each fan who is relocated will receive an exclusive 2010 Men’s Frozen Four commemorative ticket.

Other officials could not be reached for comment.

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