Tickets for sporting events 'lost' if holder goes bankrupt

By Amy Fredette

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Priority seating for UA football and men's basketball games is difficult to come by. But the demand for these seats is even greater when dedicated fans are denied access.

In 1990, bankruptcy courts ruled that season tickets are assets that could be sold when a person files for bankruptcy, said Alan Solot, a Tucson attorney who has handled such cases. So far, only basketball tickets have been involved.

Since then, tickets have been auctioned or raffled off by the courts, sometimes fetching between $10 and $20,000 each, Solot said.

Auctioned tickets can bring in $3,000 to $20,000. Raffled tickets are sold lottery style with an entry fee of $10.

A Sept. 22 article in The Chronicle of Higher Education stated that auctioned tickets are so expensive because the courts are, in effect, selling places in line for the following year.

However, the University of Arizona has a state-authorized system that allows it to use whatever form of distribution is necessary.

"Just because you bought them (season tickets) this year doesn't mean you have a right to buy them next year," said Michael Proctor, university attorney. "We have the authority to distribute tickets as we deem necessary."

"The point system is a manner of allocation, and policy indicates that the university has the right to revoke offers," Proctor said.

About 75 to 80 tickets have been "lost" to bankruptcy court, said Judi Kessler, director of priority seating for the Wildcat Club.

"The main problem is that the university is not getting the money," Kessler said.

Another problem is that priority point members lose the chance to gain control of the reclaimed tickets, Kessler said. Because the tickets are auctioned by the courts, the UA is unable to sell them to other fans.

"It circumvents our priority point system," Kessler said. "We're getting people in seats who haven't donated money (to the Wildcat Club)."

The Wildcat Club was founded in 1971 as a fund-raising program for athletic scholarships. Since then, it has raised about $2.6 million each year.

Kessler added that the procedure is unfair to people who are waiting in line through the point system.

The Wildcat Priority Point System, a part of the Wildcat Club, was established in 1990 to reward Wildcat fans who have continually purchased season tickets over the years.

Fans are rewarded points for every year as Season Ticket Holders based on priority seating contributions, gifts, membership in the Captains Club and the UA Presidents Club, receiving letters in varsity sports and for being university alumni.

Priority seating tickets sell from $50 to $650 for Arizona Stadium and from $50 to $500 for McKale Center.

Last year, two cases concerning auctioned basketball tickets were challenged by the university, Solot said. Bankruptcy courts overruled the appeals, but the UA appealed again and won one of the cases. A hearing has not been scheduled for the other appeal.

The university will challenge all cases regarding bankruptcy court cases and season tickets, Kessler said.

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