- Associated Press - Monday, November 9, 2015

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Want to sing the national anthem at a Temple University home football game? The gig’s for sale.

Temple requires a group or soloist to sell a certain number of tickets to the game in order to perform.

Next on the bill: Unionville High School’s chorale. About 50 members of the Kennett Square group will belt out “Oh, say, can you see” at the Nov. 21 game against Memphis at Lincoln Financial Field.

Price tag? 100 tickets at $15 a pop.

They’re close to meeting the goal, says Jason Throne, Unionville’s vocal music teacher.

“I’ve never had to worry about that because of the family members that want to come and students buying tickets as well,” said Throne, whose group also performed last year.

You might have thought that performers got paid to sing or were picked merely for their star power. But it turns out some schools like Temple monetize that experience and other sports moments.

These are popular spots. Throne, a 1996 Temple grad, said he likes to support the team by selling the tickets and is thrilled with its 8-1 record this season.

“It’s a great experience for the kids to perform at the Linc,” he added.

Not everybody can buy in. Audition tapes are required, so Roseanne Barrs need not apply, says Scott Walcoff, Temple’s associate athletic director of marketing, promotions, and sales.

Temple also sells other fan experiences - high-fiving team members in the tunnel (30 tickets), touring the stadium before the game (50 tickets), having your youth team play at halftime or your dance squad perform (100 tickets).

The point is to raise revenue and fill seats, Walcoff said, but there’s more to it.

“It’s about creating a once-in-a-lifetime experience to come down on a field and sing the national anthem in front of thousands of fans,” he said. “Hopefully what we’re doing is creating future Temple fans.”

Temple has company, profiting from these performance ops.

Anthem-singers are booked for all but three of the 41 76ers home games this year. (The team hires professional singers for 10 to 12 games.) Halftime performances - last year there were unicyclists from Maine - are sold out too, said Evan Ostrosky, a team account executive for group events. Groups also can rent out the court for 90 minutes pregame.

Price ranges depend on opponent and day of the week. For the anthem, it can vary from $3,000 to $5,000 in ticket buys.

Towson University in Maryland offers fans the opportunity to sing the national anthem at football and basketball games. It’s been popular for basketball, but not football, said Kim Cavanaugh, assistant athletic director for fan development.

When the Villanova Wildcats play basketball at the Wells Fargo Center, fans have to buy tickets if they want to stand in the tunnel or sit on the bench during warm-ups.

Rutgers University in New Jersey since 2013 has peddled anthem-singing for a price: 175 tickets for football games and 200 for basketball games.

“But no one’s ever bought it,” said Kevin Lorincz, spokesman for the athletic department.

Baylor University, ranked No. 2 in the nation in football by the Associated Press, does not sell the anthem spot but does charge for other experiences, such as night-before stadium tours, meet-and-greet pregames with the spirit squad, and pregame sideline passes. Prices range from $15 to $100, depending on the experience, said Nick Joos, associate athletic director for the school in Waco, Texas.

“We’ve had parents who have used it as gifts for their kids on birthdays,” he said.

Many places that allow groups to buy the fan experiences, including Temple and the 76ers, provide tickets at a discount and allow groups to sell them as fund-raisers at face value.

Not everyone sets a price on these moments.

“I’m not aware of any of those kinds of things here at Ohio State,” spokesman Jerry Emig said of the nation’s top-ranked team.

“Temple has been selling fan experiences at its football and basketball games at least for the last decade, the anthem opportunity for about five years, Walcoff said.

Allison Boyle, a Temple theater major from East Falls, and her sister, Jessica, bought the honor for last week’s highly touted Notre Dame game, selling 145 tickets - nearly twice the required minimum. That game was more expensive than most, Walcoff said. The cheapest ticket sold for $60, which translates to about $8,700. Most other games go for $15 or so, he said.

Not everyone gets to sing. Temple has turned down students who wanted to buy a spot but couldn’t hit the right notes, Walcoff said.

“But there are just as many students who have been phenomenal.”

Sometimes, opportunities go unsold. No one has reserved the last home game of the season against the University of Connecticut, on Nov. 28. If the spot remains unsold, Walcoff said, the Temple band will play the anthem.

Throne’s glad he has Memphis wrapped up.

“It’s most likely going to be a prime-time game,” he said, “so we’re looking forward to that.”

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Online:

http://bit.ly/1RIBnBl

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Information from: The Philadelphia Inquirer, http://www.inquirer.com

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