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As football ticket orders climb, ODU unveils seating plan

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: April 09, 2009
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April 9, 2009

Old Dominion athletic officials have the hottest ticket in town and they know it.

With nearly 12,500 season tickets already ordered, about 4,000 seats set aside for students, another 1,000 going to the visiting team and 1,000 more reserved by the school for internal use, 19,782-seat Foreman Field will be filled to the brim seven times this fall for the return of football to ODU.

"From the moment tickets went on sale 14 months ago, it was like the Jerry Lewis Telethon," senior associate athletic director Debbie White said Tuesday. "Every time we turned around, the number went up and up and up and up."

With three weeks still to go before season-ticket sales close, ODU expects the number of orders to rise. But how far?

Season ticket orders close May 1, the same deadline for pledges to the school's athletic booster group, the Big Blue Club. Pledge amounts decide the order in which season-ticket buyers will get to select their seats.

"I always knew football would be big here," said Mark Benson, ODU's assistant vice president of athletic development. "What shocked me most was how quickly our fans responded."

What the final season-ticket tally will be is anybody's guess; Benson said there are a number of long-standing Big Blue members who have yet to order their tickets, and some of them donate enough annually to qualify for 24 season tickets.

How many of those Big Blue members buy tickets is one key to how many single-game tickets will be available this fall.

Single-game tickets will come from four sources: seats that are not assigned to season-ticket holders; seats not claimed by students; seats that are not used by the visiting team and seats not used by the school for internal use.

Internal use seats would go to guests of the university and the family members of players. The majority of schools afford players four complimentary tickets for home games. ODU has yet to designate its per-player number.

Student-section tickets will be available 10 days in advance of games. Only students with a valid ODU ID card can pick up tickets.

Tickets not claimed will go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. on the Thursday before the game.

The 1,000 set aside for the visitors follows a Colonial Athletic Association rule. Though ODU will not play as a CAA member until 2011, the Monarchs intend to abide by that rule from the start.

Student seating has been designated for the northeast corner. Visiting team allotments are in the southeast corner. Family plan tickets are in the southwest corner, right beside the school's internal-use section.

Foreman Field's original design employed a gradual bowl design to the sideline stands. What it created was a stadium with near-perfect sight lines. It is undergoing a $28.8 million renovation, with the brunt of the renovation focused on the addition of a game-day building beyond the south end zone that will house locker rooms and 24 suites.

"I think Foreman Field is fabulous," White said. "Yes, it has some creaks and some age to it, but it also has character and is a perfect, perfect size for the Football Championship Subdivision."

When season-ticket seat selection begins in June, ticket holders will choose their seats using an online 3-D program designed by Ballena Technologies.

"You roll the mouse over the seat you are interested in and the program puts you in the seat and gives you a panoramic view," Benson said. "It's as easy as buying an airline ticket. We put the seat into a shopping cart and you are done."

Rich Radford, 757-446-2463, rich.radford@pilotonline.com

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