May 1, 2011
This is the latest installment of our monthly feature called, "Ask the AD." If you have questions for Saluki Director of Athletics Mario Moccia, feel free to submit them by e-mail.
I saw many vacant lower bowl seats at the men's basketball games this year. Have you ever considered aligning with Stubhub to allow season ticket holders to sell their tickets when they don't go?
For both the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons, Saluki Athletics partnered with Ticketmaster's Ticket Exchange that allowed season ticket holders to "sell back" unused tickets to those looking to purchase single game tickets. During those two seasons the service was utilized only a handful of times by season tickets holders and led to the discontinuing of the program. We are always evaluating ways to boost attendance and revenue as well as provide a service our fans desire. Stubhub and other secondary-market ticket firms have had success in filling empty seats and providing otherwise unavailable season ticket locations in some markets and we will continue to gauge the interest and viability of such programs here at SIU.
Are there any plans to host more events at Saluki Stadium, such as outdoor concerts, high school games or maybe movies on the jumbotron?
Yes. The Department of Athletics is aggressively attempting to secure the St. Louis Rams to have their pre-season camp in Carbondale. In addition, we will meet with the ISHA to attempt to secure some or all of the high school football playoffs, which would bring 16 teams over a two-day period. We are having preliminary discussions to determine if it makes financial sense for local high school teams to rent the stadium on occasion. Outdoor concerts are under the control of the folks at SIU Event Services, but we would certainly look favorably on them and we do have plans for the use of the video board for movies, especially when the students return to campus in the fall.
Recently, I read where the new NCAA president said he would look into the possibility of paying players. What's your opinion of this? How do you think it would impact college athletics, specifically a school like SIU?
I haven't seen that article, in fact, the information I have indicates the NCAA is squarely against this concept. My opinion is this would not only further the gap between the haves and have-nots, but it would it be the end of anything resembling a level playing field. It would severely cripple us in my opinion.
Has the date been decided on when SIU men's basketball will be playing Northeastern in the 2011-2012 season?
We will play the game on Saturday, Nov. 19. Game time and television have not been finalized.
How much money does the athletic department typically make when it hosts the Ringling Brothers Circus? Are concerts still profitable? There used to be so many more concerts at SIU Arena.
The circus rental produced $11,000 in facility rental income for Saluki Athletics, plus some additional income related to recovery of some overhead. Non-athletic events at SIU Arena fall into the following categories: facility rentals by outside organizations, partnerships between Southern Lights Entertainment and a professional promoter, presentations (primarily concerts) where the University takes 100 percent of the risk that ticket sales will exceed the event's expenses (such as B.B. King and Kenny Rogers concerts), and some events are held by registered student organizations (fraternity dances). SIU Event Services secures concerts, and due to the University's current financial situation, there is less of an appetite to take financial risks with these events. Part of the difficulty in attracting major events is our location. In aconcert promoter's mind, we are close enough to St. Louis for our population to drive there to see a concert but too far away to draw an audience from St. Louis to here.
Why hasn't the baseball team played the wood bat game at GCS Park in Sauget the past two years? The St. Louis alums and fans really enjoy that game.
We've tried to play it there every year, including this year, but we haven't been able to get the stadium for a variety of reasons. The head coach at Saint Louis has a brother that works for the Independent team that plays there, and we are hoping that gives us an "in" for future games. We would much rather play the wood bat game there than the home-and-home, and we will continue to try.