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Thursday, Feb 2, 2023
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Trojan Fever

USC football fans generally are not the fair weather variety. Despite mediocre teams throughout the 1990s and eight straight losses to crosstown rival UCLA, average attendance never fell below 57,000.


Now, as the Trojans gear up for a run at a third straight national championship, how has the school recognized all that loyalty? By mandating a surcharge on top of the regular $265 for each season ticket with those who won’t pay getting booted to less desirable sections.


The fee is not for the tickets; it’s the cost to join one of USC’s booster clubs. For the Cardinal and Gold Support Group, the first level of support group membership, the price is $2,500 per year. For that, fans can buy up to four season tickets located between the goal lines. The Committee, the second level of support group membership, costs $7,500, while the Sponsorship Club runs $25,000. The more you pay, the better choice of seats you have.


Jose Eskenazi, USC’s associate athletic director, admitted that some ticket holders were upset. But he noted: “We’re in a huge crunch for premium seats.”


Not counting students, USC already has sold 47,000 season tickets for 2005 surpassing last year’s record 35,000. With Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart returning for a senior season at quarterback, demand for USC-branded sweatshirts, hats and other licensed items also is at record levels.


“The team markets itself,” Eskenazi said. Nearly all of last year’s sponsors renewed, along with between seven and 10 new ones, he said.


And royalties for licensed products are the highest in history, said Elizabeth Kennedy, USC’s director of trademarks and licensing. She said she’s received double the number of applications from potential licensees.

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