So we've no doubt heard that FSU sold out its allotment of tickets in 17 mins. Thats outstanding. But did it really hurt some loyal Noles? Do we really think we have the best possible ticketing process? After the jump I get really long winded and talk about my experiences with the ticketing process, and discuss problems I faced along with a potential solution.
Okay little bit of background info. I started at FSU in the fall of 2005. Back then students at the beginning of the semester went and got a coupon book for each home game. It was essentially a coupon redeemable for a ticket. The coupon couldn’t get you in but without it you didn’t have a chance.
So the process of getting a student ticket, was to register for a block on the Tuesday before the week of the game. To register for a block you had to be at your computer on Tuesday at 8pm to get a “number in line” all the smart people realized the library had the fastest connections so that’s where the low numbers went when it came to getting a block number (best I ever did was 4).
Then everyone who registered for a block, went on Friday at 330pm to the Dick and waited until 4pm. At 4pm they would call for block #1. The person who had the sheet of paper with their name on it as registering and getting block #1 would go up and hand over a stack of coupons. Each block was allowed up to 300 coupons, and so there was always some shady wheeling and dealing amongst those who were in charge of blocks to make sure that each block always had 300 coupons.
This would continue until the allotment of coupons was received and then they would shut it down. For the UM game in 2005 I believe they stopped calling for numbers around 45. Then on Monday of the next week, the person in charge of the block would go and collect the tickets for his block then had to disperse them to everyone. Once you had the student ticket, it was guaranteed entrance into the student section, no ID necessary.
This system was fun…but in reality lead to a LOT of non-student in student section. It lead to a full student section but not necessarily $$ for FSU nor a student section full of students.
So maybe my timing isn’t quite right but I believe in the Fall of 2008, FSU nixed the old system of coupons and went to a lottery. Everyone registered online using their own FSU card and then during the week of the game, you went online and registered for a ticket. Under this system, I seem to recall that there was some priority given to Sr’s and Jr’s but mainly to student boosters. You still were able to register for a block and so when you requested your ticket you always signed up for a block. Signing up for the student booster block pretty much guaranteed seats.
Then the Wednesday before the game all student who had requested a ticket and won the lottery were either emailed a ticket or could go pick it up from the stadium depending on the option they choose.
This process did an excellent job of eliminating non-students from the student section…Almost too good of a job. Recalling that FSU was fresh off back to back 7-6 seasons restricting the student section might not have been a great idea especially since it wasn’t full nearing the end of 2007.
The problems with this system was that students didn’t show up to games on time because A. They knew they had a seat and a good seat because it wasn’t packed. 2. For some reason ($$$) FSU decided to give you a print-at-home option but it cost $2. D. The paper tickets sometimes struggled to make it through a day’s worth of drinking before the game. Allow my to voice my frustration over being charge $2 to use my own ink, my own paper, to print out a ticket when I could walk to the stadium and get a ticket that cost FSU money for free. I took the latter choice every time.
Moving on to I believe the Fall 2009 season, the process really didn’t change, except that seating was no longer block based or based on priority. It was first come first serve. This started to get students to show up for the games earlier but with another year into the system people got much more creative about being able to apply for student tickets. It became known that it was very simple to change the name on the student ticket using Microsoft Paint, or really any image editor, even Word could do the trick. So needless to say there started to be a larger group of people in the student section. You could easily argue this was due to the 9-4 season in 2008 but eh who’s really arguing.
In the Fall of 2010 the same process was in place but by now the print-at-home option is the only option and its free. By the end of the year when there was a higher demand for tickets…I discovered that student with no intention on going to the game would register for a ticket…then take said ticket and scalp in from of the stadium. This only hurts real fans. Combining the fact that the tickets are still sheets of paper…this presents real issues for night games. Pre-game festivities begin really more then 8 hours before the game. There is some serious cat-5 maintaining that needs to go up just to insure your paper ticket will make to the game in one piece. And watch out if it rains.
Enter Fall 2011. So apparently the higher ups still weren’t happy with the process and decided to make a change again. Now on the Sunday before each home game at 5pm student have the chance to go register for a student ticket. Its first come first serve except if you are a booster and were before the 5th of September. Once 16,000 tickets are claimed its over. For the first two games there wasn’t a huge demand of tickets initially on that Sunday. You could register for a ticket on Monday or Tuesday and it was okay. But not for the OU game.
I’ve read that the OU game sold its allotment of student tickets in 17 minutes. For those of you counting at home, that’s 16,000 tickets in 1020 second or 15.68 tickets per second. Now that’s a demand I love to see from my NOLES. But unfortunately it comes with a pretty poor caveat. People who don’t have any real interest in the game are registering for tickets with the sole purpose to scalp them, AND fair weather fans are taking the place of die hards.
For instance, if you were a graduating senior coming home from a trip home this weekend and got home at 530, even though you’d been to every FSU home game since you got to FSU you don’t get a ticket. Now that is not a system I can agree with.
Students have clearly made their way back into the stands, and it’s exciting to see we are making a difference. The UF was great…well for those who were there for the whole thing. Many problems arose for students to be even allowed into the game because of tremendous lines and back-ups for the student tickets.
So I told you that story to bring this to you. A potential solution.
I’ve heard from people/friends/grapevines etc about using your student id to get into the game. I want to say at Bama, you register for a ticket, it gets loaded to your id, you swipe your id and you either have a ticket or you don’t and you get in or you don’t. Simple. If you win in the lottery your card has your ticket. No one is going to try and scalp their own student id so you don’t make money from other students who weren’t as lucky. Its easy to track whether your ticket was used and makes for much easier access then trying to scanned a rained on, beer stained, partially ripped paper ticket.
But how would we nudge the lottery towards those students who’ve shown they will go to all the games not just the big ones? They want to always support the Noles whether it be a Troy, Western Michigan, Citadel, or Miami, UF, Clemson, and now OU. I feel like there can be a lottery system that gives priority to those who actually attend the games. Since it would be easy to track who used their student ticket via the card swipe, it would be very simple to keep a running tally of how many games/events the students go to.
It could be just as simple as everyone gets their name added to the list of names in the lottery. For every game you attend you get an extra chance at a ticket. This way if there were say 20000 requested a senior who’s attended every home game would have a 21 or more chances to get one of the 16000 seats whereas an incoming freshman who skipped the first two games would only get 1 chance. This way we tilt the system towards those who actually go to the games. For boosters, the clause for getting a ticket to every game could only be invoked if you attended more the 60% of the sporting events that year. Therefore if you are a booster and you “support the team” then go to the women’s soccer games, go to track events, don’t just support the Garnet and Gold at Doak. Then bonuses could be given for attending other non-revenue generating sports. I.E. If it made your chances significantly better to get a student ticket by attending beach volleyball I feel more then confident we’d have a packed house for beach volleyball. Creating such incentives could increase attendance among all sports.
No I don’t claim this solution to be perfect, but it would cut down on the amount of time needed to wait to get into the stadium. Would clearly cut down on the number of students being rewarded for being a fair-weather fan. It would eliminated students from making profits at their peers expense, and best of all it would reward those who are the most loyal to the NOLES.
Thanks for reading and sorry for being so long winded. Now I’d like to hear your idea’s and experiences.