UCLA instituting changes to The Den after major survey

From UCLA: This email was sent to members of The Den, UCLA’s student athletic support group, to announce decisions made after a survey of The Den members and several months of working with various campus student and non-student groups. The changes are designed to enhance the student experience at UCLA athletic events.

Dear Members of The Den:

This past December, the UCLA Athletic Department asked you to participate in a survey regarding the student experience at our athletic events. The results were very informative and we want to thank all of you who participated. Over the past few months, we have been working with numerous campus student and non-student groups to implement many of the survey’s findings.

Today’s email is to report to you the results of the past few months. The new programs are all designed to create the greatest athletic student environment in all of collegiate athletics.

To fully examine the survey findings and the resulting decisions, the Athletic Department worked in cooperation with the Undergraduate Students Association Council (USAC), specifically Undergraduate Student Association President Jasmine Hill. She, along with fellow council members helped to identify and establish student focus groups that enabled us to vet ideas and concepts. We also discussed potential changes with The Den student leadership, Wooden Center Board of Governors, ASUCLA staff leadership, cheer and band leadership, and the Rally Committee.

Beginning in the 2011-12 season, UCLA Athletics will implement several new programs listed below, all with the goal of enhancing the student experience.

When new Pauley opens, there will be a specified student entrance for members of The Den at new Pauley enhanced with special graphics;

Creation of a Student Event Enhancement Committee, consisting of members of various constituent groups that will consult with the Athletic Department on ways of creating and maintaining a student environment second-to-none on a regular basis;

The return of a single-game student ticket price. Over the past few years, student seats were sold only on a season basis and if students wanted to attend a game without a season pass, they had to pay the regular fan price. This past season, UCLA instituted a price of just $99 for The Den season pass, which provided students the opportunity to attend all home football and basketball games. As a result of the survey, UCLA reinstituted a single-game student ticket priced at $12 during this past Pac-10 basketball season and will continue this going forward. Home football games will also have single game student pricing. The Den season pass for football and basketball will also remain as the best value option.

A unified, cohesive student section designed to create an increased home court advantage for the UCLA men’s and women’s basketball team will be implemented going forward. The Den will start immediately behind the West basket (the side located adjacent to the visiting team bench), span the entire width of the court and will stretch all the way to the top of the arena. This configuration is similar to arenas at many Pac-12 schools, including Arizona, Oregon and USC, as well as many around the nation. Approximately 1900 seats will incorporate the new Den for Men’s Basketball, an increase of approximately 200 seats from years past. This general admission section will be built around the energy and creativity of the UCLA Band, Spirit Squad, Den leadership, Rally Committee and frankly, all students who attend. The visiting teams will shoot free throws into this basket in the second half. Good luck.

UCLA and IMG College – UCLA’s corporate partner – will focus on give-away items geared towards the students in new Pauley Pavilion as an incentive for more students to attend the games.

UCLA Athletics will be working with all involved parties, including ASUCLA, to try to create some discount food opportunities for members of the Den.

“We surveyed over 7,000 members of ‘The Den’ regarding several subjects and they gave us some outstanding feedback on ways to enhance the student experience at our events,” said Mark Harlan, UCLA Senior Associate Athletic Director – External Affairs. “One thing that became very clear is that students want to be together and have some fun. Over 82 percent desired a seating area that gave them unity and the ability to help give our teams the home court advantage they deserve.”

“The new and unified student section will not only increase the student fan experience, it will create an environment that promotes intensity on the basketball court, mistakes by the opposing team, and a continued tradition of dominance in our home arena,” said Elan Bigknife, President of The Den.

“Athletic events at UCLA are great opportunities for all Bruins to come together. Our incredible teams lend so much towards making us a unique and dynamic campus,” said Jasmine Hill, Undergraduate Student Association President. “With the remodeling of Pauley Pavilion, we in Student Government were excited to work with UCLA Athletics to make The Den experience exactly what it should be – all about the students. With one unified student section, UCLA students are going to be able to feel new electricity when they support our teams because we will be doing it as a collective. This is a great opportunity for UCLA and the Undergraduate Students Association Council is proud to support the effort to make the student experience even better.”

“Pauley Pavilion has long been a student use shared facility and the Wooden Center Board of Governors looks forward to working with Athletics and other stakeholders to improve both the venue and experience for all students” said Ryan Roberts, Chair of The Wooden Center Board of Governors. “A Student Enhancement committee is an exciting and positive step in bettering the student experience at athletic events.”

“At the end of the day, we want the students to have a great experience and we want The Den to create the tremendous home court advantage for our teams,” Harlan concluded. “The Student Event Enhancement Committee will provide us regular feedback on how we can continue to work together to accomplish those goals. I want to thank all the survey responders as well as the outstanding student leaders who have provided great feedback and guidance as we looked at these changes. We will continue to lean on all of them in creating the greatest home field and home court advantage in the nation.”

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  • Money talks

    They just relocated the students from the prime real estate to the cheap(er) seats.

  • KolbAte10Eggs

    Agree with Money talks. Students pushed to periphery; alumni/donors who sit on their hands will likely now get ALL courtside seats. Bummer.

    GO BRUINS

  • uclabruin11

    Yeah, as a graduating student this spring, I had heard about this for a while about the relocation–while the other promotions/announcements seem nice, they are just a cover up for moving the student section. It’s really too bad and disappointing to see the administration sell out students like that, but, it was to be expected especially since there were hundreds of students in the rafters still instead of sitting on the opposite court-side all these years.

    It is not the students that prevent Pauley from being such a “great” college environment like Kansas or Duke or Illinois but the administration–there is the type of support and passion for students to go all all the arena. I understand the financial gain and WHY that has never happened but still sad to see any court-side seats officially gone.

  • Bob

    One side of the arena should be a solid baby blue, from the court to the roof. The opposite side should have the TV camera’s showing the UCLA experience. If you want to sell out the pavilion, fill one side of the court with the people that make UCLA a great place, the students.

  • OldBruin

    There was never a problem with a home court advantage when I was at UCLA. Of course, I still have a few of my ticket stubs from Pauley, and they say $0.25 on them. Football was free, as was every other UCLA sporting event. The students owned the north side of the court for basketball. Every seat between the baselines from the court to the concourse. Ticket books were by lottery only. Good luck scoring a ticket to the Notre Dame BB game if you didn’t have a book. Give the prime real estate back to the students and you’ll have a home court advantage…but then, how to pay for Guerrero’s new Pauley? Why doesn’t ASUCLA just buy the thing?

    The new Pauley will have the shell, but never the spirit of the real Pauley. The corporate donors who can afford seat licenses have no cultural ties to the Bruins. Gone are the families who’ve had season tickets for 10, 20, or 30 years. Can’t afford it any more. The McCourts might as well own the place.

  • Anonymous

    Nice of them to give the students worse seats, then tell them they did them a favor.

  • Anonymous

    This is my first time commenting, but I couldn’t leave this news without saying what has been on my mind for a long time. As with Old Bruin I too remember the days when we had to camp out over night in order to get a basketball season ticket. I went to over 95% of all games as a student, was able to get a UCLA ID in order to sit with the real fans, the students, for a number of years after I graduated and eventually purchased my season tickets once I was established professionally. I have been a season ticketholder for over 30 years and still attend over 90% of all games, including the clunkers (to be fair, even Coach scheduled those. Remember the Citadel?) So, now to the “new” Pauley. Moving the students to the end of the court is simply a way to sell the prime seats for the increased seat yearly “donations”. It is patently unfair to the students. I sat between the freethrow lines, either on the floor, below the concourse or above it for 4 national championship years as a student and also for early tournament games. (I remember one NCAA game at Pauley against Santa Clara where it was 10 – 0 before they even got the ball across half court!) I was able to get good basketball seats because of my work with the Board of Directors of Bruin Bench and my status as a donor and I have kept those seats, never trying to upgrade for the last 25 years. So, not only are the students not being treated fairly, many of us long time, die hard folks who are there regardless of the teams we are playing or the caliber of our team, will no longer be at Pauley as Old Bruin points out. I have a relatively high priority number (even after the capital donors were moved ahead of many of us long time supporters) but will not be able to keep my seats or anything close to my seats, because of the new financial donation structure. I cannot begin to pay an amortized price of $250 per ticket, per game for the likes of Cal State Northridge, Irvine or Montana (ticket price plus donation devided by the number of games). So, while the students are moved to the end of the court, a patent injustice, I will be moved out of Pauley after over 30 years. I’m not sure who the adminstration thinks is going to purchase all the seats at more than Laker prices, or who will actually be in Pauley for the first half of the season (we have had pitiful attendance for a number of years dating back to Coach Lavin) and, to be fair, the student attendance has also been poor. (when in the history of Pauley have there been empty student seats on the floor?? Way too many times this year.) So, we will have a refurbished arena, a good idea, but will in no way have the atmosphere that other respected venues have, because both the students and the long time fan base have been treated poorly. I will forever be a Bruin fan, both Football (I have seen all but a few games since 1967) and Basketball, but I will be watching Basketball on television. Thank God for hi def and all the sports channels. I know this is way too long but it has been building for a while.

  • Anthony

    I don’t understand how giving the students worse seats will increase student attendance. What’s the point of having 200 additional student seats if the new section will have less demand since the view of the court is worse?

    I say you keep the students on one sideline but reduce the number or rows in half and add a section behind one basket. This way, you add more courtside seats behind the students, while preserving the traditional student den section. You also get the student presence behind one basket.

    Increased revenue for UCLA, courtside student section still intact, without pissing anyone off. Atmosphere at games will improve because of the student presence behind the baskets. This leads to more tickets sold overall, and more money for UCLA.

    See Morgan Center? Your job isn’t really that difficult.

  • Nick

    This is horrible. If you want to model a student section done well, go look at Duke. If you truly want a home court advantage, you put the students as close to the floor as possible and along the length of the court.

    I think putting them behind the basket is worse than it is now.

  • Larry

    Hahahahaha… what a joke. You think games looked bad on TV before. Wait until they show games now. Pauley will look dead with our lifeless alumni sitting (not standing) in view of the cameras at center court. Like the comment above, you want a model student section – look no further than Duke. Every game on TV that arena looks like it is ROCKING! Man, would LOVE to have that at Pauley (and so would new recruits).

  • UCLABZ

    Wow, Jasmine Hill isn’t very politically savvy. The administration screwed the students and plastered her name all over it.

  • Larry

    Hahahaha UCLABZ… I was thinking the same thing too!

  • Keith

    So the students will not only be in the “end zone”, they will be behind the VISITORS’ basket in the second half of all games. DUMB!!!!

  • UB (Ultimate Bruin)

    Well, when I was a student, we had to win a lottery to even get tickets. Then, we camped out overnight to be near the front fo the line when Rally Committee would come by and give us priority numbers. Then, we took off for a quick clean-up and food, only to come back and line up by priority number. Then the doors opened and we dashed down the stairs and ran to get our desired spot on the benches. Before tip off, the sutdent section was filled from the court to the rafters. And the band had that section on the floor which is now occupied by other student atheletes and VIPs. And when I say before tip-off, I mean before the tipoff of the JV game or a Women’s game. After the game, we ALL stayed to sing “Rover.” Now, the students saunter into Pauley, and saunter out after the game. Their level of enthusiam is an embarrasment. While there are some very rabid current student fans, for the most part, it is pathetic. So, I have no sympathy. A Home Court advantage is created by the students having the SAME LEVEL of enthusiam whether it is Notre Dame or Santa Clara! (I too have some of those old cheap student ticket stubs. I have a collage framed on my office wall. It even has one of those “Poodle” priority tickets Rally Committe use to hand out. Although as a 1979 grad, my tickets were 50 cents!

  • BruinInSeattle

    Seems the AD forgot the point of the University — students. Without students, there would be no basketball team, no football team, no professors…no AD. To shift all the students to the crummiest seats is pretty evil, to use a moral term. What the hell happened to UCLA? It used to be a fairly great place.

  • cliq

    well… when the state is in such a budget crisis… what else do you expect?

  • Generation 2

    This just in. Student section at Rose Bowl moved to La Canada.

    What a shame!