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The Daily Tar Heel

Fever ?nds new home in Smith Center

At home men’s basketball games, the spirit of Carolina Fever is no longer contained in one seating section.

At Saturday’s game against the University of Alabama at Birmingham, fans will see the characteristically enthusiastic Fever members — but not in their traditional home of section 114.

In conjunction with the UNC athletic department, Fever enacted two new policies this year: changing how tickets will be distributed for basketball games and making the organization free to join.

The changes aim to increase student participation and attendance for all UNC sports, not just basketball, said Tim Sabo, assistant director of ticket operations.

This year, Fever tickets are in the general admission seating sections only.

The top 150 Fever members with the most points will still receive two phase one tickets to all conference games except Duke, but their seats will not be predetermined.

“It’s the same lottery situation as in the past — there’s just no predetermined Fever section,” Sabo said.

Everyone outside the top 150 has an equal chance of winning the general student lottery.

But more Fever points can help a student get better tickets after winning the lottery, said Fever co-chairman Jack Frost.

Half of the phase one tickets for every lottery game are reserved for Fever, and tickets remaining after the top 150 receive tickets are distributed based on points, he said.

Rick Steinbacher, associate athletic director for marketing and promotions, said that the number of available student tickets varies per game.

The ticket office analyzes historical data on opponent, game time and day of the week to predict student demand for a given game, he said.

In previous years, Carolina Fever has charged a $20 membership fee.

But this year, membership is free.

Steinbacher said because Carolina Fever got rid of the fee, its membership has increased from about 2,000 students to more than 10,000.

The increase in Fever participation has paralleled rising attendance at games, he said.

Steinbacher said the athletic department has been pleased with attendance this year, adding that the 10,000 Carolina Fever members have attended an average of two events each.

At the end of the year, Fever members will have a chance to provide feedback on the two new policies via a survey sent out by Fever.

“If it seems confusing, it’s confusing for us, too,” Frost said.

“This is a trial year to see what works and what doesn’t work, so there might be new changes next year.”

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