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September 27, 2018

Wittenberg University will no longer charge for admission to any of its home athletic events. The school had been charging $5 to attend its football and basketball games before dropping the ticket charge a few weeks into the 2018 football season.

According to the Springfield News-Sun, Wittenberg Athletic Director Gary Williams said that attendance has been declining in recent years. Wittenberg had previously reduced their ticket prices to $5 in order to attract more people.

“Attendance at Wittenberg athletic events was really good for many decades,” Williams said, “and in these last 10 years or so, they all saw a steady decline. I’m not sure exactly what it can be attributed to. It can be attributed to many different things. And we’re not the lone rangers in this.”

On Sept. 1, 1,545 people attended the football team's season opener, while 2,504 attended the following game that had free admission.

“At the end of the day, we did a cost-benefit analysis,” Williams said, “and we realized what we might be losing in revenue pales in comparison to the actual cost of what we think we’re losing by not having people come see us play. The realization is that we want Springfield to feel like Wittenberg and Wittenberg athletics and any of our events are more accessible to them.”

There will still be admission fees charged for conference tournament events and other post-season games. Otherwise, Williams said he expects the policy to continue in the future.

“At the end of the day, there are no strings attached,” Williams said “This isn’t some marketing ploy. There are no ulterior motives. This is just us literally saying we want more people in town to come see us play, and we’d rather you sit in the stands and have a good experience with Wittenberg because that is worth more than any ticket sales. Being in the stands, having a positive experience on campus, promoting what we’re doing here, following our teams and then having people talk about that in a positive way is more important to us than any ticket revenue.”

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