Sabre Points: Using the Promise of Basketball Tickets as a Motivator

With football season over and basketball season upon us, a moment of reflection seems apt. The UVa football team went 2-10, finishing 6th in the ACC Coastal division. Despite that, 44.6% of students polled report having gone to all six home games and 37% report having gone to four or five of the games, citing reasons from being with friends to just needing something to do on a Saturday.

SABRE points also enter the picture as a way of enticing students to attend sporting events as they offer points that can be applied to UVa basketball games ticket lotteries–each student was given five points for each football game they attended. When asked what effect SABRE points had on student attendance, 81.5% of students reported they had a positive effect on their attendance. 18.5% said they had no effect.

It would be fair to conclude then that SABRE points had a strong influence on football game attendance this year. Of all the games that students could attend, football saw the greatest attendance of the fall season, with 84.6% of students polled reporting that they most frequently attended football games. This makes sense even without the incentive of SABRE points, as home football games are the largest sporting events of the fall season.

Heading into the basketball season, the outlook is more hopeful with respect to the team’s performance. Some fourth years reported a bittersweet sense at the home opener, while first years generally reported excitement about seeing the team play. A lot of excitement right now is about Kyle Guy, who has averaged 7.6 points a game and a 64.3% three-point percentage in the 114 minutes that he has been in the game.

Students have reported not having too much difficulty acquiring tickets to the home games and scrimmages thus far, which may be due in part to the advantage of SABRE points. 40% of students polled hope to attend nine to twelve of the home games, while 26.2% hope to attend thirteen to sixteen and 13.8% hope to attend five to eight.

Whether or not those SABRE points provide a meaningful advantage, attendance at basketball games is likely to stay high with the team’s success, with students continuing to clamor over tickets.


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