LITTLE ROCK — Doing math, some Arkansas fans will find out how much they can reduce contributions to the Razorback Foundation and still retain their tickets to Razorback football games in Little Rock.
The exemption applies to fans who buy season tickets only to Little Rock games and who do not purchase season tickets in other sports. I’m not sure how many are in that Little Rock-only category. People I know who buy season tickets to Little Rock games also purchase the ticket package in Fayetteville.
The subject of contribution levels first came up in late November when UA athletics director Jeff Long and War Memorial Stadium Commission Chairman Kevin Crass held a joint news conference following the commission’s decision to approve an agreement which guarantees one Arkansas game per year in Little Rock through 2018. People who buy season tickets wanted to know if they could reduce their contributions to the Razorback Foundation and keep their seats since the number of Little Rock games had been cut in half.
Asked at the news conference how reducing the number of games would affect contribution requirements, Long said he was not sure.
Clues to financial commitments for the 2014 season begin on page seven of the Razorback Foundation’s Annual Fund Brochure. "To retain season ticket locations in all venues, existing season ticket holders must maintain or exceed the previous year’s total Annual Fund contribution, regardless of the number of tickets purchased in each sport," it says.
The next paragraph says that because of the reduction of football games in Little Rock, foundation members "who only have football tickets in Little Rock, and do not contribute to any other sport, will be permitted to drop their total Annual Fund contribution to the minimum seat values listed on page 14 and retain their seats."
On page 14 is a color-coded diagram of War Memorial with various seat values ranging from $35 in each end zone to $80 in the two sections at midfield. Marked in white, 10 sections in the corners of the stadium do not have a seat value.
For the inquisitive, the seat values range from $50 for some seats in the upper deck on the West side of Razorback Stadium to $300 for the two sections at midfield. No seat value is assigned to many of the seats in the upper deck on the West side.
In a two-page section labeled "Frequently Asked Questions," the correlation between the reduction in Little Rock games and contributions to the Razorback Foundation is again addressed. Once again, there is a reference to the minimum seat values on page 14.
The next paragraph reiterates that Foundation members with season tickets in Fayetteville and Little Rock are required to maintain or exceed their previous year’s total annual fund contribution to retain season ticket locations in all venues.
As long as the SEC sticks with eight conference games, Arkansas will likely play seven in-state football games. Before the Stadium Commission acted on the compromise and contract extension with the UA, the Razorbacks were obligated to play two games per year in Little Rock through 2016. Now, the in-state schedule will include six games in Fayetteville and one in Little Rock.
This fall, the Little Rock game will be Georgia on Oct. 18.
Because Arkansas has a non-conference game at Texas Tech this year as part of a home-and-home contract, there were three non-conference games and four SEC games to be divided between Fayetteville and Little Rock. In 2015, when Arkansas is the home team against Texas A&M in Arlington, the Razorbacks’ in-state schedule will include three SEC teams and four non-conference games and the assumption is that Little Rock will get one from category B. If that is the case, Arkansas will be obligated to play one more SEC game in Little Rock in 2016, ‘17, or ‘18.
Harry King is sports columnist for Stephens Media’s Arkansas News Bureau.