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Badgers Minnesota women's hockey

Wisconsin forward Brette Pettet looks to pass around Minnesota defenseman Emily Brown (2) and forward Kippin Keller during the March 10 NCAA quarterfinal game at LaBahn Arena. The game drew a season-high crowd of 2,078.

Ticket prices for University of Wisconsin women's hockey games are scheduled to climb next season, and the Badgers will offer a wrestling season ticket package for the first time.

The UW Athletic Board's Finance, Facilities and Operations Committee on Wednesday forwarded a $15 women's hockey season ticket price hike to the full board for final consideration at its June 15 meeting.

Those ticket packages would cost $65 for adults and $40 for UW students, children ages 2-17 and those aged 55 and over.

The new price structure for women's hockey, which has won three straight Western Collegiate Hockey Association regular-season titles and advanced to the Frozen Four in five straight seasons, was projected to increase revenue by more than $24,000 annually.

Committee member Gretchen Viney was the sole dissenting vote. She said she objected to the percentage increase — 30 percent for adults and 60 percent for students and seniors.

She also questioned whether the fan experience will improve.

"Women's hockey already has the smallest sign board. It almost never has the band. We do get Bucky," said Viney, a law school professor. "But, otherwise, you're asking people to pay 30 or 60 percent more for their tickets, and they're all going to be asking me, 'What are we getting for that?'"

Deputy athletic director Chris McIntosh responded by saying a better question to ask was what services student-athletes are getting from the revenue.

"I don't think that support is going to be any different next year than it was this year or it was last year," Viney countered. "There's no question we run a premium program. ... But what we're talking about is ticket prices to the public who comes to hockey games."

The increase was designed to be around $1 per game, assistant athletic director for ticket operations Brian Moore said.

Moore argued that the cost per game — $3.61 for adults and $2.22 for students and seniors in an 18-game home schedule like the Badgers will play in 2018-19 — was still a bargain.

"Quite honestly, I'd challenge you to find a high school game where you can go for that amount of money," Moore said.

A $65 season ticket price would rank third in the WCHA using 2017-18 prices for other schools, according to UW. Minnesota Duluth charged $125 and Minnesota $79.

Single-game pricing for women's hockey also is due to change, although that didn't need board approval.

Moore said adult general admission tickets will be $7 next season, an increase of $2.

The Badgers led the country in women's hockey attendance in 2017-18, averaging an announced crowd of 2,265 at 2,273-seat LaBahn Arena.

In wrestling, the Badgers are joining the majority of Big Ten schools in offering season tickets after the committee unanimously approved the athletic department's proposal.

The season cost for a ticket in new mat-side reserved seating at the UW Field House will be $125. Reserved seats in middle sections will cost $45 per season, with general admission packages costing $35 for adults and $25 for youth and seniors.

UW is projecting revenue of more than $14,000 from wrestling season tickets, associate athletic director for business operations Mario Morris told the committee.

Chris Bono, hired as the Badgers' wrestling coach in March, wanted UW Athletics to sell season tickets, an idea that the department had discussed previously.

Senior associate athletic director Doug Tiedt, who oversees the wrestling program, told the committee that Bono's previous team at South Dakota State had success in selling season tickets.

The Badgers' average paid attendance was around 650 last season, Moore said.

"He is someone who has continued to drive excitement into the wrestling program," Tiedt said of Bono. "One of the things that he believes is a key component is to have fans in the stands."

UW was one of two Big Ten wrestling programs that charged for admission but didn't sell season tickets last season. Michigan State was the other; Illinois and Indiana have free admission.

The prices of single-match tickets for wrestling also are scheduled to increase next season. Reserved seats will cost $9 and general-admission adult tickets will be $7. The top price had been $5 since at least 2001, Moore said.


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