Kansas is following the lead of California in entering the business of "equity seat rights," the latest marketing innovation that requires fans to pay big bucks in order to secure the best seats in the house.
Jayhawk fans who pay as much as $105,000 over 10 years will earn the right to buy guaranteed top seats at Memorial Stadium for the next 30 years. In return, the seats will stay locked in at 2010 prices. Fans will also be able to take a tax write-off for donating to a university.
The Chicago-based Stadium Capital Financing Group is behind the plan, and chief executive officer Lou Weisbach says it's a win-win for all involved.
"Even in difficult financial times, the price of the best seats in professional stadiums and university programs go up," Weisbach said. "This is the ultimate solution for the shortfalls universities are facing in their athletics programs."
Kansas is targeting fans interested in securing seats in the new 3,000-seat Gridiron Club, an addition to 90-year-old Memorial Stadium that will open for business in the fall. The club will offer cushioned seats, catered food, private restrooms and preferred parking. The university is hoping to cover $34 million in stadium renovations, with long-range plans of raising $200 million.
One problem: Jayhawk fans have not been receptive to the plan. Only $5 million of the $34 million has been raised.