On Thursday, UConn Athletics announced that, beginning in the fall, students will no longer need to purchase tickets to attend regular season home games. Instead, students will swipe their student ID at the gate and admission will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis.
“Students already contribute to our success through student fees, and I feel it is important to eliminate any cost to them above and beyond those fees,” Athletic Director David Benedict said in a release.
The change affects all previously-ticketed UConn sports, including men and women’s basketball, football, men and women’s soccer and men’s hockey. Sports which had previously previously been non-ticketed, such as baseball and softball, will also remain free.
For select high-demand basketball games, free tickets will be distributed in advance. More information on this process will be released later this summer, according to the announcement.
Attendance at UConn home games has dropped nearly across the board in recent years. The 2018 football season had the lowest attendance since the opening of Rentschler Field, averaging just over 10,000 fans per game, according to the Hartford Courant. This season saw a slight surge in men’s basketball attendance, likely due to interest generated by the hiring of new head coach Dan Hurley, but last year saw the program’s lowest attendance in 30 years.
The athletics department hopes this move will reverse that trend, increasing fan attendance at home games, and revitalizing the UConn athletics brand in the process.
“I am thrilled that we have been able to partner with the UConn Division of Student Affairs to create a policy that will allow students to gain entry to our home games without buying a ticket,” Benedict said. “Our students help create an exciting atmosphere at many of our home events and I am hopeful that this new streamlined process will entice even more students to join the fun.”