Last week, Ole Miss Athletics unveiled plans for new party decks set to go up in the north endzone sections of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium during the 2019 season.
The temporary renovation is just the latest move from leadership this summer as Ole Miss continues to battle plummeting season-ticket sales that have affected almost every program in the nation.
Ole Miss will test eight covered party decks throughout the top of the student section that will feature televisions, cooling fans and charging stations.
Capacity for each deck is 100 students and the first two sections will go to the first 200 students in line at the stadium. The six remaining sections will go to campus student groups determined by a weekly lottery on the Wednesday of the home game that week.
“As we have all seen firsthand at The Pavilion and Swayze Field, as well as throughout our fan research, the ability to socialize with friends is crucial to our students’ gameday experience, and the new party decks will provide a similar environment to those other venues,” Keith Carter, Ole Miss interim athletics director, said in a statement. “There is no question that our students are absolutely critical to creating a home field advantage at the Vaught, and we look forward to giving them an experience that makes them want to get there early and stay until the end.”
The lottery will take place on the Wednesday of every home game week. Representative from student groups may register for their organization starting at noon with an application specifying the number of passes needed. The winners will be drawn at 12:45 p.m. at the Union Plaza.
There certainly are positives to this news for students. First off, it’s a gift to any fan to avoid the sweltering heat in the north endzone. Secondly, it adds to the overall experience with an exclusive club area filled with your fraternity brothers, sorority sisters or fellow club members, basically acting as an extension of the Grove. The club areas might attract students who wouldn’t otherwise make their way to the stadium.
Ole Miss is hoping that the new feature will entice students who weren’t planning on buying tickets to purchase them with hopes of experiencing the party deck, but some students are still not willing to pay for student tickets with the small chance of gaining club-level access due to hundreds of student organizations registering in the lottery.
Students pay $155 for all seven home games while Ole Miss launched new packages for other sections. The new Mini-Pack allows fans to pick one SEC game and one non-conference home game for $125 and the Rebel Flex Passes offer sideline sections for $399 and endzone section seats for $249. The seat location varies from week to week, but the Rebel Flex Passes do not require a donation.
Ole Miss is expected to release the full improvement plan for the upcoming season later this month.
September 7 will be an interesting day on the field and in the stands when Arkansas visits Oxford for a 6:30 p.m. kickoff as Ole Miss looks to improve fan experience from the student section to the 50-yard line.