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By Randy York
Last Saturday and Sunday were good days for Nebraska's basketball teams and great days for Husker men's and women's fans because the weekend provided their first chance to peer into the future. The Nebraska men's 80-57 crushing of Illinois and the Husker women's 68-59 mastery of Wisconsin drew nearly 900 season ticket holders to the Hendricks Training Complex, where they asked questions and learned more about NU's 2013 game-day move to the Pinnacle Bank Arena. Here's the 1-2-3 on that transition from the Bob Devaney Sports Center to the downtown West Haymarket Area:
1) TICKETS: A solid process is in place, Holly Adam assured Nebraska season ticket holders over the weekend. Adam, Nebraska's Assistant Athletic Director for Ticketing, reminded men's fans that they will receive notification of their assigned comparable seat locations and annual contribution requirement (if applicable) in April. Fans seeking to buy seats with a different view than what they currently have are being asked to wait until they receive their preliminary seating location in April before requesting different seats. Subsequent requests would then fall into an allocation process based on availability, per-seat contribution, priority points and years of purchase. Fans unable to get a sneak peek of the new arena over the weekend will have one more opportunity for each team - the women's Sunday, Feb. 26 regular-season finale against Ohio State and the men's Wednesday, Feb. 29 final regular-season home game against Iowa.
2) PARKING: As always, this is the No. 2 area on the minds of fans, meaning that Butch Hug was every bit as busy as Adam was over the weekend. Nebraska's Associate Athletic Director for Facilities and Events, Hug reminded Husker fans that parking will be controlled by the city when the Huskers move to Pinnacle Bank Arena. He said the city will establish the price to park, and that price has not been finalized. According to Hug, at least one new downtown parking garage and several new surface lots will dramatically improve the overall West Haymarket parking situation. Reserved parking will continue for premium seating ticket holders, and Hug said there will be a potential 5,000 or more parking stalls near the arena. He made two more important points: 1) a Festival Parking area south of the public works building near Haymarket Park will be available; and 2) a pedestrian bridge will be built from the Festival area and land at the northeast corner of the new arena, approximately 28 feet off the ground. The bridge also will connect to the east side of the arena at ground level.
3) DONATIONS: As expected, this was a point of emphasis for men's season ticket holders, and Husker fans flocked to hear Derek Freeman describe the basketball-specific donations required in addition to the cost of having seats in the new arena. That information is published on Huskers.com/arena. There's a $3,000 per-seat donation requirement for Courtside Seating, a $1,000 or $750 per-seat requirement for Club Seating, a $250, $100 or $50 per-seat requirement for Lower Bowl Seating and a $50 per seat or no donation requirement for Upper Bowl Seating. The multiple options are contingent on seat location. Freeman reminded fans that Nebraska's Athletic Department is in charge of selling Courtside Seats, Club Seats and all other General Seats in the new arena for men's and women's basketball games. Club seats offer additional access to arena event tickets, parking adjacent to the arena, plus a private entrance and access to a Club Lounge and private rest rooms. Freeman encourages fans to call the Huskers Athletic Fund Office or the Nebraska Ticket Office at 1-800-8 BIG RED for assistance. Courtside seat and Club seat season ticket holders also will have an opportunity to purchase concert and event package tickets for other Pinnacle Bank events. Legends Sales & Marketing (402-261-9154) will handle those requests, as well as sell and serve 36 suites and 20 Loge Boxes located on the new arena's premium-level concourses.
In May, reminders will be sent to Nebraska men's season ticket holders who did not respond to the April notification of assigned comparable seats. In August, final notifications will be sent to season ticket holders and wait list accounts. In September, remaining men's season tickets will go on sale. The women season ticket time line is preliminary notification in June and final notification in September.
"I think everyone really appreciates the thinking and the time line that we've put together to make our transition to the Pinnacle Bank Arena as smooth as possible," Nebraska Executive Associate AD Marc Boehm said Monday. Boehm said communication and cooperation are key to customer satisfaction, and he encourages more season ticket holders to take advantage of the pre-game information sessions for the Huskers' final two regular-season games.
"This past weekend was an awesome experience," Boehm said. "We're here to answer any question that any fan might have, whether you're a season ticket holder or just thinking about becoming one. Anyone with a ticket to those last two home games can come and see the architectural model of the new arena and visit with our support staff. We had two productive sessions Saturday and Sunday, and we look forward to having two more before the women's Senior Day against Ohio State Sunday (beginning at 11:30 a.m.) and the men's Senior Night the following Wednesday against Iowa (beginning at 6 p.m.).
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