March 30, 2011
To read the Daily Bruin story on the changes, click here.
This email was sent to members of The Den, UCLA's student athletic support group, to announce decisions made after a survey of The Den members and several months of working with various campus student and non-student groups. The changes are designed to enhance the student experience at UCLA athletic events.
Dear Members of The Den:
This past December, the UCLA Athletic Department asked you to participate in a survey regarding the student experience at our athletic events. The results were very informative and we want to thank all of you who participated. Over the past few months, we have been working with numerous campus student and non-student groups to implement many of the survey's findings.
Today's email is to report to you the results of the past few months. The new programs are all designed to create the greatest athletic student environment in all of collegiate athletics.
To fully examine the survey findings and the resulting decisions, the Athletic Department worked in cooperation with the Undergraduate Students Association Council (USAC), specifically Undergraduate Student Association President Jasmine Hill. She, along with fellow council members helped to identify and establish student focus groups that enabled us to vet ideas and concepts. We also discussed potential changes with The Den student leadership, Wooden Center Board of Governors, ASUCLA staff leadership, cheer and band leadership, and the Rally Committee.
Beginning in the 2011-12 season, UCLA Athletics will implement several new programs listed below, all with the goal of enhancing the student experience.
When new Pauley opens, there will be a specified student entrance for members of The Den at new Pauley enhanced with special graphics;
Creation of a Student Event Enhancement Committee, consisting of members of various constituent groups that will consult with the Athletic Department on ways of creating and maintaining a student environment second-to-none on a regular basis;
The return of a single-game student ticket price. Over the past few years, student seats were sold only on a season basis and if students wanted to attend a game without a season pass, they had to pay the regular fan price. This past season, UCLA instituted a price of just $99 for The Den season pass, which provided students the opportunity to attend all home football and basketball games. As a result of the survey, UCLA reinstituted a single-game student ticket priced at $12 during this past Pac-10 basketball season and will continue this going forward. Home football games will also have single game student pricing. The Den season pass for football and basketball will also remain as the best value option.
A unified, cohesive student section designed to create an increased home court advantage for the UCLA men's and women's basketball team will be implemented going forward. The Den will start immediately behind the West basket (the side located adjacent to the visiting team bench), span the entire width of the court and will stretch all the way to the top of the arena. This configuration is similar to arenas at some Pac-12 schools, including Arizona and USC, as well as many around the nation. Approximately 1900 seats will incorporate the new Den for Men's Basketball, an increase of approximately 200 seats from years past. This general admission section will be built around the energy and creativity of the UCLA Band, Spirit Squad, Den leadership, Rally Committee and frankly, all students who attend. The visiting teams will shoot free throws into this basket in the second half. Good luck.
UCLA and IMG College - UCLA's corporate partner - will focus on give-away items geared towards the students in new Pauley Pavilion as an incentive for more students to attend the games.
UCLA Athletics will be working with all involved parties, including ASUCLA, to try to create some discount food opportunities for members of the Den.
"We surveyed over 7,000 members of `The Den' regarding several subjects and they gave us some outstanding feedback on ways to enhance the student experience at our events," said Mark Harlan, UCLA Senior Associate Athletic Director - External Affairs. "One thing that became very clear is that students want to be together and have some fun. Over 82 percent desired a seating area that gave them unity and the ability to help give our teams the home court advantage they deserve."
"The new and unified student section will not only increase the student fan experience, it will create an environment that promotes intensity on the basketball court, mistakes by the opposing team, and a continued tradition of dominance in our home arena," said Elan Bigknife, President of The Den.
"Athletic events at UCLA are great opportunities for all Bruins to come together. Our incredible teams lend so much towards making us a unique and dynamic campus," said Jasmine Hill, Undergraduate Student Association President. "With the remodeling of Pauley Pavilion, we in Student Government were excited to work with UCLA Athletics to make The Den experience exactly what it should be - all about the students. With one unified student section, UCLA students are going to be able to feel new electricity when they support our teams because we will be doing it as a collective. This is a great opportunity for UCLA and the Undergraduate Students Association Council is proud to support the effort to make the student experience even better."
"Pauley Pavilion has long been a student use shared facility and the Wooden Center Board of Governors looks forward to working with Athletics and other stakeholders to improve both the venue and experience for all students" said Ryan Roberts, Chair of The Wooden Center Board of Governors. "A Student Enhancement committee is an exciting and positive step in bettering the student experience at athletic events."
"At the end of the day, we want the students to have a great experience and we want The Den to create the tremendous home court advantage for our teams," Harlan concluded. "The Student Event Enhancement Committee will provide us regular feedback on how we can continue to work together to accomplish those goals. I want to thank all the survey responders as well as the outstanding student leaders who have provided great feedback and guidance as we looked at these changes. We will continue to lean on all of them in creating the greatest home field and home court advantage in the nation."