Students Watch Hawks Edge Out Badgers for Free Thursday Night

By Jillian Petrus, Reporter

Iowa's Matt Gatens (5) pulls up for a three-point-shot during the first half of their Big Ten Conference college basketball game against Wisconsin Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City. (Brian Ray/ The Gazette-KCRG)

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By KCRG Intern

IOWA CITY, Iowa – It was a free for all at Carver Hawkeye Arena as the Hawkeye Men’s Basketball Team edged out the 15 ranked Wisconsin Badgers.

Free tickets for students and season ticket holders, free food, and free swag brought several thousand to the game on a snowy Thursday night.This was the third free ticket night this season for Iowa Men’s Basketball.

Organizers say the free giveaways are a great way to show students that Hawkeye Men’s Basketball is back and better than before.
“There’s a great product on the floor this year, so we’re getting the students in here to see that things have changed,” said Kevin Velovich, President of the Hawks Nest. “The last couple years, that’s the past it’s over,” Velovich says, “What we have now, it’s a fast paced offense, it’s fun to watch, it’s exciting and we’re winning big games.”

But not everyone on campus is sold on this new Hawk crew. That’s why the UI Student Government Hawks Nest and Athletic Department decided to do one more free game this season. The past two, one of which included the Hawks big win against Minnesota, were budgeted for the season.

“Definitely helps with exposure of the team,” said season ticket holder, Ryan Kluver, “because everyone thinks we’re just really bad.”
The first 2,000 fans took home a Matt Gatens bobble head – 1000 fans ate free pizza and waved a free rally towel.

“Whenever we have the free season ticket night, especially with the crowd, it seems to be a lot more wild,” said season ticket holder, Sean Forker. “It seems to help the team out a lot.”

Organizers say they know it might sound a little crazy, but free games might just be the ticket toward more revenue and a full house. Last year, the hawks had their best season ticket sales of the team’s past six seasons. “We’re getting them pumped up,” says Velovich, “so that next year, they come back as season ticket holders.”

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