Rush on for Weber State basketball tickets

Apr 3 2013 - 6:15am

Images

Ethan Hienze rests on his father's shoulder as they wait in line at the Dee Event Center Monday morning, April 1, 2013 for tickets to the CIT championship game between Weber State and East Carolina. (BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner)
Weber State fans waited in lines out the door as tickets went on sale Monday morning for the CIT championship game between Weber State University and East Carolina. With all of the ticket windows open, there was a constant line of 30-50 people.  (BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner)
The line stretched out the door at the Dee Event Center Monday morning, April 1, 2013 for tickets to the CIT championship game between Weber State and East Carolina. (BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner)
Weber State fans purchase tickets at the Dee Event Center for CIT championship game between Weber State University and East Carolina. Starting at 7:30am, there was a constant line of 30-50 people. (BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner)
Ethan Hienze rests on his father's shoulder as they wait in line at the Dee Event Center Monday morning, April 1, 2013 for tickets to the CIT championship game between Weber State and East Carolina. (BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner)
Weber State fans waited in lines out the door as tickets went on sale Monday morning for the CIT championship game between Weber State University and East Carolina. With all of the ticket windows open, there was a constant line of 30-50 people.  (BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner)
The line stretched out the door at the Dee Event Center Monday morning, April 1, 2013 for tickets to the CIT championship game between Weber State and East Carolina. (BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner)
Weber State fans purchase tickets at the Dee Event Center for CIT championship game between Weber State University and East Carolina. Starting at 7:30am, there was a constant line of 30-50 people. (BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner)

OGDEN -- A major surge of purple pride, worn on the outside and inside, had the Weber State University Dee Events Center ticket office bursting at the seams Monday.

"Awesome," one event staff member described the scene.

The occasion: Tonight's basketball game between Weber State and East Carolina, in the CollegeInsider.Com Tournament championship game.

Even with six ticket windows operating, the line to the windows was consistently 30 to 50 people deep, spilling out of the ticket office and into the hall.

But those in line didn't seem to mind what was a 20- to 30-minute wait.

"Oh, that (Scott) Bamforth, I like him," said Ogden resident Janet Rabe, a longtime supporter of WSU athletics.

"This is exciting," said Rabe, who has tired of the Salt Lake City television media ignoring the WSU men's basketball team. "Great team."

North Ogden season ticket holder Steve Heinze, who was waiting in line with his 5-year-old son, Ethan, said the basketball team has had a good year, and he credits coach Randy Rahe for that.

Ethan gave the team a thumbs-up. Heinze said the boy enjoys coming to the games with him because he knows his dad will be buying him popcorn.

Others in line included Kathy Martini, whose first date with her husband was a WSU basketball game. The couple has been attending games since 1970.

"This is wonderful," Martini said of the buzz in the Dee Events Center.

"Thirty games. That is amazing," she said of the number of wins the team has had this year.

And then there was, "I bleed purple," from Julie McCulley, a member of the university faculty.

"We all do, I think," McCulley said, speaking for those waiting in line.

"It's good to see. I think people are catching on to the momentum of winning," WSU Athletics Director of Communications Paul Grua said of the long lines.

WSU pays a $35,000 fee to collegeinsider.com for each home game played, with the university keeping all ticket revenues. The tournament organizer does pay for all team travel, Grua said.

Outside of the first CIT game WSU hosted against Cal Poly, which drew about 2,300 people, WSU has had success with its home ticket sales, with crowds of about 6,100 attending the Air Force Academy game and 6,600 attending the Oral Roberts game, Grua said.

Officials are anticipating an even bigger crowd at tonight's championship game.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This is the first time a Big Sky (Conference) team has advanced this far in postseason play," said Ron Goch, WSU assistant athletics director.

Based on the number of seats being purchased early, the center's staff members are anticipating a big crowd tonight.

"The city is showing some signs of coming out," said longtime WSU athletics season ticket holder Pat Hanley, of Roy.

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