Student seats will not be subject to the new system and tickets will remain priced at $34 per game. Likewise, suite seats will not fall under the new system.
Ohio State has more than 1,000 athletes participating in 36 varsity sports. It is one of about two dozen college athletics programs nationwide that are self-sustaining and do not rely on student fees or university subsidies. OSU Athletics typically transfers $52 million a year to the university’s general fund.
Smith, however, projects a $60 million deficit for the athletics department this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Smith anticipates that the department will borrow from the university and pay back the interest-bearing loan over five to seven years to erase the deficit.
The per-seat contribution model is used by Power 5 peer schools across the nation.
“The department believes it can lower the total price of entry for many fans while also generating additional donations to fund student-athlete scholarships in all 36 sports,” Ohio State said in a written statement.
Currently, OSU’s Buckeye Club receives nearly $14 million a year in donations. Ohio State hopes to grow that to $25 million over an unspecified number of years, starting with a $5 million bump once the new football ticketing system is implemented.
“There is no question this that this is a revenue opportunity. We need to grow our annual giving program,” Smith said.
By the Numbers: Ohio State University Football
50,000 season ticket holders
28,000 student tickets
8 home games in 2022