It may seem far off now in the relatively pleasant days of June, but it won’t be long until Seton Hall students are speedily filing into the Prudential Center, trying to avoid the frigid cold of the months basketball season to get inside the arena to cheer on the Pirates men’s basketball team.
Unlike the women’s team which plays its games on campus in Walsh Gymnasium, the men travel off campus for all but one game on the team’s calendar. The practice of playing games off-campus in larger, professional sports arenas is something that founding Big East commissioner Dave Gavitt pioneered as a way to add character to a conference that very much embodied the big cities of the northeast region of the United States.
Seton Hall’s men’s basketball team has played its games at the aforementioned Walsh Gymnasium and the old Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, N.J., but now call the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. the home of Seton Hall basketball.
The venue was established as Seton Hall men’s basketball home in 2007, with the Prudential Center recognizing the 10-year anniversary of the agreement on May 17, 2017. For most games the lower bowl and portions of the middle level are open, while the upper bowl is tarped off, although this past year saw a full capacity crowd of 18,711 pack The Rock for a meeting with I-95 rivals Villanova.
When it comes to tickets, Seton Hall offers a unique deal to its students. While individual tickets are sold to students for $10 each, there is a student plan for season tickets that costs $100 rate. This fee, though, is entirely refunded if the student attends all the home games throughout the season. Last season, the Pirates played 13 games at the Prudential Center, and that number could be as high as 15 in the upcoming season, meaning the cost per game could drop from $7.69 to $6.67 under the plan.
With games taking place off-campus, transportation may seem like a hurdle, especially to freshmen students who are coming to school without a car on campus. Seton Hall has provided an answer to that, though, with buses that deliver students from campus to the front steps of the Prudential Center. All students need to do to register for the bus is to open the SHUPirates app, known as S.H.I.P.S., beforehand and reserve a spot.
With these options being provided to students, recent statistics have shown that just like on the court, performance in the stands may be reaching peak levels. Last season, there were 505 student season ticket holders, with nearly half of them freshman, according to Seton Hall’s ticket office. Of those 505, 130 students attended each home game, meaning they walked away from the men’s basketball season with a refund for their $100 season ticket plan.
“We have one of the best student sections in the country, and an engaging student atmosphere helps make college basketball games a memorable experience for all the fans in attendance and for our student-athletes on the court,” Seton Hall Athletics said in a statement to The Setonian. “Coming to every home game in a season is no small feat, so rewarding the loyal students who achieve perfect attendance with a refund is a gesture we enjoy making. We hope that with a team bidding for a third straight NCAA Tournament appearance, we will see even more students come out to Prudential Center in 2017-18, and we hope we can issue out even more perfect attendance refunds at season’s end.”
Student season tickets are on sale through the Athletics ticket office at (973) 275-4255 or by visiting SHUPirates.com/studentseasontix.
James Justice can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JamesJusticeIII.