Friday, June 15, 2012 | 2:05 a.m.
There has been a spike in UNLV basketball season-ticket sales this off-season, with roughly 800 to 900 seats remaining for sale on the lower bowl of the 18,500-seat Thomas & Mack Center for the upcoming campaign, according to school officials.
In the wake of coach Dave Rice’s successful inaugural season last winter and a top-15 recruiting class, sales have increased to an all-time high since the glory years in the early 1990s.
About 95 percent of last year’s 8,100 season ticket seats have already been renewed for the upcoming season, said D.J. Allen, the school’s senior associate athletics director. Another 800 seats have been reserved, he said.
Much of the interest presumably can be traced to UNLV’s initial season under Rice. The Rebels nearly cracked the top 10 in the national rankings and played an exciting brand of up-tempo basketball. They have also landed top players in McDonald’s All-American Anthony Bennett and transfers Khem Birch (Pittsburgh) and Roscoe Smith (Connecticut).
Because the school band and UNLV Rebellion student cheering section take up about 15 percent of the seats in the 9,000-seat lower bowl, Allen said, some fans incorrectly assumed those more sought-after tickets aren’t available.
Lower level tickets are $505 per seat and also require donation to the athletic department’s Rebel Athletic Fund. Depending on the location of the seat, the donation ranges from $3,000 (sideline floor seats) to $50 (rows N to V directly above the visitor side basket). Allen said the best way to reserve a seat is to first make an athletic fund donation.
A number of tickets also are available on the upper level, starting at $125 for the season in the endzone (that’s about $7 a game) and $215 for the sideline balcony. There is a $25 fee to the athletic fund for balcony seats and no fee for the endzone.
After 16 years without a sellout crowd, UNLV has had six since 2009 — including three last year when the Rebels went undefeated at home.
“When you think about all of the college basketball venues throughout the country, there is not a better game-day atmosphere than we enjoy here at the Thomas & Mack Center,” Rice said. “Our crowd is part of our team, gives us a great home-court advantage and provides an incredible amount of energy to our players.”
For more information, call 895-1533.