Earlier this year, the University of Pittsburgh announced that only some students were going to be given the opportunity to purchase season tickets for the 2002-2003 Men’s Basketball season. Not only is this season the first to be played in the newly built Petersen Event Center, but also follows a year which saw the Panthers advance to the semi-finals of the NCAA tournament. Knowing public demand would be high and the university would stand to make a considerably larger profit selling season tickets at full prices, the Athletic Department chose to minimize the amount of tickets made available to students at discounted prices. Those students looking to be eligible to purchase season tickets had their names placed into a lottery system.
The fervor surrounding “who would win” ran wild around Oakland and the Pitt community throughout the school year, while the mystery of what wonders lay within the Events Center grew larger. “Nobody ever goes in… nobody ever comes out,” said one crazy looking knife-cart-pushing man near the entrance. Finally, this past month, the lucky winners of the “Season Ticket” were announced.
Winners were sent their tickets, on which was printed:
Greetings to you, the lucky winner of this Season Ticket from Mr. Steve Pederson. Present this ticket at the Events Center gates at ten o’clock in the afternoon of the twenty-third day of November and do not be late. In your wildest dreams you could not imagine the marvelous surprises that await you!
“I’ve got a season ticket!” sang Charlie Bucket, one of the winners. “I’ve got a season pass to watch the games. And with a season ticket, it’s a golden day.”
Finally, on November 23, the first regular season basketball game was held, and those lucky season ticket winners were escorted personally by Mr. Steve Pederson into the Events Center for a grand tour, before the game began. “Come with me,” Pederson began, “and you’ll be in a world of Pitt imagination.” Pederson could hardly contain his own excitement and awe inside the new state-of-the-art facility. “If you want to view the University of Pittsburgh’s new athletic/academic paradise, simply look around and view it.”