Barry Alvarez -- he's some guy, eh?
We'll call 2012 the Year of Barry. Upon seeing his flagship football program reach its third Rose Bowl in as many years, Wisconsin's Director of Athletics was tasked with handling the abrupt departure of Bret Bielema and finding a capable and satisfying replacement -- not to mention managing the Badgers' preparation for The Granddaddy of Them All, where victory had painstakingly evaded them for the past two seasons. Naturally, he accomplished those first two in true Barry style -- conducting a press conference for the ages to usher Wisconsin into the post-Bielema era and then bringing in Gary Andersen from Utah State.
Wednesday night, the Year of Barry sunk its teeth into 2013. In a letter addressed to Wisconsin season ticket holders, Alvarez announced UW won't be increasing the price of admission for football, men's basketball or men's hockey.
It is again the time of year when we talk ticket prices for the following athletic season. I'm pleased to inform you that we will not be increasing season ticket prices for football, men's basketball or men's hockey for 2013-14. That means football season ticket prices for our three-time defending Big Ten champions will remain the same ($42) for the fourth consecutive year. Men's basketball season ticket prices, as you know, have increased just once since 2006. And men's hockey season tickets have increased just once since 2004. Priority seating gift levels in all three sports will remain unchanged, as well.
That's some pretty fantastic news. While Bielema's jumping ship for Arkansas was stunning for it's apparent coming out of nowhere, it resonated largely due to the continuity Wisconsin's entire athletic department has maintained since Alvarez took over as AD in 2004. Complain about an inability to win The Big One all you want, but don't forget how UW forged an athletic program as marvelously consistent as it is.
Aside from football, men's basketball is a few more free throws (fine, maybe more than a few) away from being right near the top of the Big Ten. Men's hockey is in the midst of another fine season after winning nine of its last 10 contests. Women's hockey has a fantastic new facility in the LaBahn Arena, and while we're on the subject, the football facilities are getting a much-needed makeover themselves.
Barry doesn't deserve all the credit for those accomplishments, of course. But he sure as heck warrants a fair share.
I've said many times over the years that we only increase season ticket prices when we have to. I hope that having this information in your hands now will help as you plan your season ticket purchases for next season.
We'll plan away, Barry. And we'll be back in full force once the Gary Andersen era opens in earnest on Aug. 31.