Maize Rage President Nick Mattar agreed to answer a couple quick questions about the Maize Rage and the changes on deck this season. Last year’s season was obviously going to be a boost to ticket sales but I don’t think many expected an improvement this large.
The first step was selling basketball tickets with football tickets for the first time. Students simply checked a box on their football ticket application and were given basketball tickets at a discounted rate of $100. The results were impressive, 1,928 season tickets were sold in the spring, more than 3 times as many tickets as were sold all of last year.
Tickets went back on sale this fall to both freshmen and upperclassmen that didn’t purchase them the first time around. Mattar calls the early freshmen sales “astronomical” and a tweet from the Michigan basketball team yesterday stated that they had sold another 480 student tickets, pushing the total to 2,408.
As a result of the increased sales, the lower bowl student section has been expanded to provide an opportunity for more students to get closer to the court. With the student section expansion, the Maize Rage has planned to implement section leaders to improve coordination:
We are going to have “section leaders” who essentially lead the different sections of the ‘Rage. We will have people behind the Michigan bench, the opponent’s bench, and also over in the blue section near the band. This is a first-time thing for us, but we think it will help coordinate the crowd after the insanity that ensued at the Duke and Michigan State games last year. In order to make Crisler as intimidating as possible, we need to have a certain degree of coordination between the entire Maize Rage as well as with the dance team, the cheerleaders, and the band.
Beyond the expanded student section, seating is also first-come first-serve for students this year. The first 600 students will be placed in the bleachers, with another couple hundred near the band. If you have student tickets, you better get to Crisler on time. Mattar explains:
Basically, when a student picks up his or her season tickets at the end of October, he or she is picking up vouchers that act like tickets; that is, they must be taken to Crisler for the game and scanned. For most games, the seating is first come, first serve. However, for the big games (Michigan State, Connecticut), the voucher is exchanged for a ticket that essentially says where the student is sitting (bleachers, blue section, or gold section); based on the student’s attendance at the previous home games, he or she will get a ticket for the corresponding section. So if you are a student and attend all of the home games before the showdown with MSU, you are more likely to sit in the bleachers than those who only attended a few games; those students who don’t attend many games are more likely to be sitting in the blue or gold sections.
The Maize Rage student organization itself is also seeing a remarkable improvement in terms of student interest. Over 100 people are expected for the Maize Rage’s mass meeting which will be held on Monday, Sept 28 at 7pm in the Michigan Union (with FREE Pizza). For more information on the Maize Rage, check out their website at MaizeRage.org or e-mail their secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the mailing-list.
The Maize Rage is an impressive organization when you consider that they have stuck together through some very rough years of Michigan basketball. Winning clearly cures many problems but it’s tough enough to stay alive to reach the good times. The biggest test for the ‘Rage will be to coordinate cheering of the 2,400+ people who have tickets you have to assume that many of them have never even been to a Michigan basketball game.