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New policy angers Louisville season ticket holders

The University of Louisville announced in July that a new ticketing policy would be implemented for the 2017 – 2018 season. However, many season ticket holders are less than thrilled. 

NCAA Womens Basketball: Notre Dame at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Louisville, KY – A new University of Louisville policy has women’s basketball season ticket holders angry.

In July, the University of Louisville announced that multiple sections of previously reserved seats in the KFC Yum! Center will be converted into sections for tickets sold and used on a mobile app called CardsPass.

Fans say the new system forces season ticket holders to either move their seats, pay more or depend on a mobile app.

But, Louisville’s Assistant Ticket Manager, Erika Fitzgerald says the move was to get fans closer to the court to make the lower bowl appear fuller for televised games.

"We have high sales numbers but there's this Swiss cheese look in the lower bowl," Fitzgerald said. "There are all these holes and empty seats, and sometimes we open the upper level when there (are) empty seats downstairs. So the question was, 'How can we pack in as many people as possible in the lower bowls?'"

However, veteran season ticket holders are worried as CardsPass guarantees fans the “best available seat” in one of six designated CardsPass sections. Fans are not promised the same seat throughout the season.

While CardsPass is not new for ticket holders, the new system is much different. In the past, ten CardsPass sections were reserved for season ticket holders and those who purchase a family pack. However, the university has reduced the number of CardsPass sections to six.

Fans whose reserved seats are now located in a CardsPass section have three options: they can purchase a CardsPass, pay more to be “grandfathered in” to their current seats, or pay more to relocate to the reserved-seat sideline sections.

The CardsPass will cost $65 for season tickets in the end-zone. Seats located in the corners of the arena will run $136, while the sideline sections will also cost $136, but require a $75 donation.

So, why are season ticket holders upset??

Louisville’s Courier-Journal reached out to several season ticket holders to get their opinion of CardsPass.

One season ticket holder expressed his concerns about the geolocation feature that makes it difficult to transfer tickets to friends or family. The feature requires that the original ticket owner would need to be within three miles of the arena before making a transfer.

However, Fitzgerald said the university is working on this issue.

Another ticket holder said his main concern was not sitting with the people he has sat with for nearly eight seasons.

Fitzgerald told the Courier-Journal that CardsPass is not meant to appeal to season ticket holders, but to attract new customers who are more hesitant to make the financial commitment for reserved seats.

"Our initial thought and sense is hoping that most people will relocate," Fitzgerald said. "The goal is to fill up the sides and pack them as tightly as possible with season-ticket holders, and the CardsPass will be new sales for people who don't want to pay high prices for season prices."

The University of Louisville Women’s basketball team draws the fifth highest crowd in NCAA Division I. However, last season, the Cardinals averaged 8,256, the lowest since Louisville began playing in the KFC Yum! Center in 2010.

The University of Louisville’s ticket office says the office is working to relocate women’s basketball season ticket holders before the CardsPass becomes available to the general public in mid-August. CardsPass will roll out in time for the upcoming season.