The question probably comes up for many Kansas University basketball fans when watching the NCAA Tournament.
Who are those KU fans behind the bench? And how do they get those seats?
According to Jim Marchiony, KU’s assistant athletic director for public affairs, KU receives a set amount of tickets for each site in the NCAA Tournament.
For the opening weekend at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., each team receives 350 tickets with the option of ordering 200 more tickets. Marchiony says KU picks up that option immediately.
KU can’t sell all 550 of those tickets, though, as those seats include a block that is reserved for players’ and coaches’ friends and family. Typically, Marchiony said, that number is over 100.
Those 550 tickets also include a 20-percent block that is reserved for students. That decreases the total by an additional 110.
The remaining tickets are sold based on the level of donorship. The KU donors in the highest club level get the first crack at the tickets before KU goes on down the line.
Using that system, KU has sold out of its allotment in Kansas City for this weekend’s games.
KU also prepares itself in advance. Earlier in the season, the athletic department asks donors if they are interested in tickets at each of the possible NCAA sites.
“Obviously Kansas City is very, very high demand,” Marchiony said. “We get that information ahead of time so we know what we’re dealing with.”
The tickets KU receives are only for the sessions that KU plays. That means those tickets, which are sold at face value, will not allow those KU fans to get into the afternoon session Friday when fourth-seeded Kansas State and fifth-seeded Wisconsin play their opening games.
Marchiony said KU usually receives a few calls from fans this time of year wondering if tickets are still available through the school.
“Our donors are pretty experienced at this whole process. They know the drill,” Marchiony said. “(Fans wanting tickets) is a great problem. It obviously speaks to the success that the program has had for so long that the tickets are in such demand.”
KU’s allotment of tickets will increase to 1,250 if the Jayhawks make it to next week’s regional in Arlington, Texas. Marchiony said those tickets through the school also are sold out and have already been assigned should the Jayhawks advance.
The other tickets that are not allotted to schools are sold by each arena. As of Tuesday, Sprint Center had sold out all of its tickets for KU’s first two games this weekend.