July 14, 2013
By Jerry Hill
Baylor Bear Insider
Less than three weeks after launching the Bear Heights club seating process for the new riverfront Baylor Stadium that will open next year, only 400 of the 1,100 seats are still available.
Bear Foundation members at the Athletic Director Club level ($9,000) and above scooped up 700 club seats during an exclusive window that began on June 26, while the remaining club seats will go on sale on a first-come, first-served basis at 8 a.m. next Wednesday, July 17.
"When the inventory is exhausted, no more (seats) will be available," said Greg Davis, Senior Director of Athletic Development. "If everybody jumps on it on July 17, (the process) could be done in days. With 400 seats, essentially the first 100 to 125 members completing a campaign commitment could lead us to closing the process early and starting a waiting list."
The Bear Heights club seating is located on the 200 level of the west side of the new stadium, stretching between the 5-yard lines on each end of the field. Amenities include seating with cushioned backs and bottoms; extra seat width (two inches more than most Bear Heights seats at Floyd Casey Stadium); additional legroom (six inches more tread between rows than the ones at Floyd Casey Stadium); access to the climate-controlled Bear Heights Club; and on-site parking.
Access to the 18,000-square-foot Bear Heights Club will be limited to ticket holders for the suites, loge boxes and club seating. Located conveniently behind the seating area, the club will offer indoor dining space, dedicated restrooms, food and beverage, as well as access to elevator/escalator entrances from the main level. In the first two weeks alone, Davis said, the club seating process brought in over $5 million in campaign gifts. Most of the campaign gifts were designated to one of the three approved University projects: 1) Athletics Capital Fund; 2) Business School Building Fund; 3) Student Scholarships.
To be eligible for the club seats during the campaign phase, you have to make a one-time financial commitment - $25,000 for Tier 1 or $5,000 for Tier 2 - and have your Bear Foundation membership cover your seat costs (which include ticket, onsite parking and a pre-game meal) at an annual expense of $2,000 per seat in the center sections and $1,500 per seat in sections between the 5- and 25-yard lines.
Davis said the tremendous ticket demand in the first phase of the club seating exceeded what were extremely high expectations.
"I think we saw such excitement during the loge box process that we thought it was possible the response would be just as great for the club seats as well," Davis said. "But the level of excitement and generosity from Baylor Nation today is greater than it's ever been; which, for our university, for our coaches and for our student-athletes, is wonderful to see. This kind of support is what allows Baylor University to continue to move forward, both academically and athletically, to become an elite school."
The club seating has continued an amazing momentum for the new stadium that began "a little over a year ago," Davis said, when the six Founder's Suites were purchased. Since then, all 39 premium suites were sold out and the 79 loge boxes were swept up in just three weeks.
"Response from our donors has really been remarkable," Davis said. "We've seen a ton of people increase their membership in the Bear Foundation, and we've seen a lot of people giving more generously than they've given in the past. For us, it's been a great way for us to identify new prospects for even more support in the future."
On a first-come, first-served basis, the campaign phase will either end on Oct. 1 or once the availability of seats is gone. Any seats remaining after Oct. 1 will be made available without a campaign gift during the regular stadium-seating process in 2014.
Once the last of the club seats are committed, donors will be ranked based on their campaign gifts and Bear Foundation membership and "will begin getting direct communication throughout the fall providing more detailed information about the selection process," Davis said. The actual seat selection process will begin in November.
Doug McNamee, assistant athletic director for premium sales and services, will coordinate the seat selection through an online ticketing system with Ballena.
Since stadium construction is ongoing, "we won't have the ability, like we do at Floyd Casey, to walk in and go see (the seats). But this system will give donors an opportunity to click on a seat; see the view from that seat; pan left, pan right and get a true feel for that seat," Davis said.
That same system will be used when the Bear Foundation's 7,000 remaining priority seats are selected early in 2014, based on the Bear Foundation Priority Ranking System.
If you need additional information about the Bear Heights club seating, visit the web site at Baylor-Stadium.com and click on the Premium Seating tab for a listing of frequently asked questions.
Overwhelmed by the response to date, Davis said, "This has been an incredible display of donors believing in Baylor University."