CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Friday was opening day for Coastal Carolina University softball and, for the first time, the university will be charging admission.
"We're really excited that there actually is a fee to enter the games because the girls will only benefit from the cost of admission," said Shelley Sweigart, a parent of one of the players.
Matt Hogue, CCU's athletic director, said all ticket revenue goes into general revenues for a given fiscal year. They'll then deduct applicable sales tax and credit card processing fees.
"The money will go into the team, the sport and the school," says Sweigart.
No ticket revenue goes to the Sun Belt Conference. The 2017 season had approximately $11,000 in total attendance at CCU games. Some fans said they have no problem paying the $5 fee to support the Chanticleers.
"We're so excited that they're finally getting an equal opportunity like the boys do to have support," said Pam Budinger. "The fans are coming in and supporting their sport."
Hogue said via email that it's hard to estimate what their revenue will be since there is no market track record or data. They made the administrative decision to sell based on increasing interest, success of tournaments and rising operational costs of game management.
CCU students get in free, but even if they were charged, they say they would still go for support.
"The group of girls are really fun and I know a couple of them just from being on campus," says Isabella Bauer. "They're really talented and the games are fun to watch."
The Chants beat Iowa State Friday night 8-0. They'll play a split double header Saturday at 2:30 p.m.