Last week reports surfaced that Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez was going to announce a football ticket price raise, however in the latest edition of Wisconsin's online magazine 'Varsity' he announced that all ticket prices will remain at current levels for football, men's basketball, and men's hockey and he also made some news with airing his thoughts on Big Ten divisional realignment.
He made it pretty clear that for him geography and the ability of fans to travel easily to away games are the two biggest factors he is looking at for the future of the conference. Of course he is also looking at making sure rivalries stay in tact too.
Just ask any Badgers fan and the loss of playing Iowa on a regular basis really didn't sit well with them. Expect Alvarez to fight to make sure that that never happens again.
"I want to play Iowa every year," said Alvarez. "I didn't like not playing Iowa the last two years. I know our fans didn't like it either. I want to continue to play Minnesota every year."
"I also want to play Nebraska every year. That has turned out to be a natural rivalry for us. Those games are important to our fans because they can travel to them."
So, expect to see Alvarez push for an east/west split to the conference with the fans and rivalries playing a key role in making up the conference going forward.
The ticket price news was definitely welcome news for Badger fans everywhere to say the least, but it also underscores the fact that Wisconsin's athletic department is in tune to the economic realities that face their fans too. Not only that, but Alvarez and the rest of the department are also well aware of their budget realities on a year to year basis.
"This year, we just decided that we can go without an increase," said Alvarez in the article. "If we can move forward and be fiscally responsible and not raise ticket prices, then that's what we're going to do."
One of the things that Wisconsin fans may actually take for granted is exactly where the Badgers are placed in the market within the Big Ten. It's something that Alvarez is keen to take a look at as a factor in the process of placing Wisconsin in the market.
"After we take a look at our budget – and we don't use consultants like some schools – we review where we stand as far as the rest of the programs in the Big Ten," Alvarez stated in the article. "By comparison to the rest of the league, we don't want to be at the top or the bottom. We want to be somewhere in the middle."
"Right now we're closer to the bottom than the top in terms of ticket prices."
The one thing that changed last season was the introduction of tiered pricing for premium games and Alvarez says that policy will stay in place this season.
Overall, Wisconsin fans have to be happy with the news coming out of Barry Alvarez's office today and hopefully it stays positive in regards to division realignment as that process moves forward.