Numbers game

The UH student section was back in force for "Superhero Night" against UC Davis.
The UH student section was back in force for “Superhero Night” against UC Davis.

With the good of a possible sellout for Hawaii basketball on Saturday comes a downside that the university has not had to worry about for more than a decade — the possibility that not everyone who wants a hot ticket can get one.

There’s been some concern voiced this week about a couple of different groups who might be left out in the (relative) cold for the women’s-men’s hoops doubleheader nightcap against Long Beach State at the Stan Sheriff Center.

First: Wahine basketball season ticket holders, who will gain normal admission for the UH women’s game against UC Irvine at 5:30, then are invited to stay and find an open seat for the men’s game. The arena is not being cleared out between games. (Stand-alone men’s tickets are being sold for admission into both games; the women’s game is general admission seating, A.K.A. nothing is reserved for that one.)

Second, there are the UH students, as this Ka Leo story points out. The number of free tickets for UH students (as part of their athletics fee) has a soft cap of 515, meaning if there’s a sellout, that’s the maximum number that can be accommodated for free and the rest will have to buy a ticket. More students than 515 have been let in in the past for free for non-sellouts, which is basically any game (not including the Diamond Head Classic) since the policy went into effect.

There should be a large student turnout for this one, as the team is on a roll and the theme is “Cartoon Character/Minion Night” with a robust giveaway promotion by Jamie Smith.

These are, as UH athletic director David Matlin said this week, good problems for his department to have.

As of Thursday afternoon, there were about 2,500 tickets remaining — roughly 700 ahead of sales the previous Thursday, two days out from the UC Davis game which ultimately saw about 9,300 tickets distributed for the 10,300-seat Sheriff.

That number shrank to 2,000 as of noon Friday, or 900 ahead of the Davis pace.

Matlin said an effort would be made to set aside a section of seats for the Wahine season ticket holders in the event of a sellout.

As for the possible student seating issue, here was Matlin’s rebuttal:

“>> We have never turned away a student since we instituted the new student ticketing program in 2010-2011 for any sport. Average student attendance is 255 this year for Men’s Basketball. We went over the 515 once this season – Season opener 671 (and we accommodated all of them).
>> We also have never had a sell out since the new student ticketing process
>> The sell-out coupled with the double header spurred us to get the word to students to give them the best chance to attend the game. We are committed to 515 but it is our practice to hold additional seats. NO Matter what we will have a minimum of 515. Our goal is to accommodate as many students as possible.
>> It is a good challenge to have when demand for tickets is high by the interest generated by our team’s success. WE were being proactive in our release so students were informed. Our departmental mantra is to be transparent and proactive.”

Do you have thoughts on the matter? Feel free to weigh in below.


  1. H-Man January 30, 2016 2:08 am

    Let all the students in that want to attend up to a maximum of say 600. That seems fair enough by increasing the allotment for this one game where Minion night has to be special. Sometimes sacrificing some revenue makes a whole lot of sense.

  2. amela January 30, 2016 8:22 am

    Standing room only, fill it.

  3. NotNasti January 30, 2016 11:31 am

    Remove the folding seats in the student section and let them stand the whole game. Then they’d be like student sections in big time schools elsewhere.

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