KU sells courtside basketball seats for $15,000 each

A crowd of more than 16,000 basketball fans watch the women’s Kansas University basketball team prepare to take on the South Florida bulls in the WNIT championship game Saturday in Allen Fieldhouse. The crowd was the largest ever to watch a KU women’s game in the fieldhouse.

For decades, it was said the media had the best seats in Allen Fieldhouse.

No more.

Fans have purchased 40 seats on press row at $15,000 per seat for the 2009-10 Kansas University men’s basketball season, associate athletic director Jim Marchiony said this week.

The press will sit in the two end zones — where some media sat last season with KU administrators and some NBA scouts. Section 13A in the upper southwest corner remains for overflow media.

It’s not yet been determined where administrators and scouts will be seated this season, with those seats likely assigned on a game-by-game basis.

“The reason we are going in this direction is twofold: No. 1 is the revenue generation aspect,” Marchiony said. “We need to do what we can to generate revenue. This will generate well over half a million dollars annually. The other thing is it’s an issue of enhancing the fan experience. People will love the opportunity to sit that close to the action.”

The Williams Fund contacted boosters with the most priority points about purchasing the press row seats, which stretch on the east side of the court. They were gobbled up quickly.

“Many schools have already done this. We’re one of the few who hadn’t done it yet,” Marchiony said. Indeed, all schools in the Big 12 now have some sort of courtside fan seating. “It’s something we knew our fans would be very interested in. It adds to their enjoyment of the game.”

The press table will remain in place on the east side and in the end zones.

“(It’s) because we have advertising on those tables in the front,” Marchiony said. “But mostly because it’ll allow our fans to have food and drink there and keep it out of the way, rather than have them put things on the floor.”

A few media members will remain on the old eastside press row. The national or Jayhawk Network television announcers working the game and the home and visiting radio announcers will be seated in the middle, with the fans on both sides.

“The media has been good about saying their main concern is access to the event and coaches and participants. As long as that doesn’t change, we don’t expect too many (complaints),” Marchiony said.