A few minutes before noon on Friday, Feb. 24, a swarm of students waited anxiously in front of the door to the Student Center Ballroom, ready to race to claim one or two of the 170 remaining tickets available for the Phantom of the Opera at the Fox Theater on Thursday, March 2. 330 of the 500 available tickets, were claimed on Tuesday, Feb. 21, via Techstuff2. The tickets were released at 5 p.m. and the site crashed shortly
SCPC and SGA worked together to subsidize the tickets and negotiate with the Fox and producers of the show to bring down tickets from $70 to $34, according to Sanjana Basker, second-year INTA. Tickets per student were sold for $15.
The methods SCPC took to prevent the website from crashing included posting the event only a day before the event and not announcing the time of ticket release, as that method had worked in the past for tickets for “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find
Them” last Fall.
Unfortunately, the demand for GT Night at the Fox was much higher than anticipated.
“A lot of people happened to be lurking on the website when ticket sales went live and 1000 people hit the site at the same time,” Basker said. “Sequoia, the provider, was unequipped to handle that.”
Following the site crash, SCPC received around 570 Facebook messages, and a group of 20 members worked tirelessly for two hours straight on Tuesday night to respond. The Buzzcard office also helped in redirecting people who had been charged money but not assigned a ticket.
However, the issue of what to do with the remaining 170 tickets was yet to be solved.
The tickets needed to be sold by the end of the week into order to work on the logistics of the event, so SCPC had to work fast, deciding that Friday ticket sales were their best option.
“We realized that not a lot of people would be able to make it because of class or other conflicts, but the reality is that with a limited quantity of tickets, putting ticket sales during a time that didn’t work for all of campus worked to our advantage,” Basker said. “We got a lot of criticism for opening lines three hours before the ticket sales even occurred, which I understand, but as it is, there were people loitering around starting at 8 a.m. and complaints of ‘cutting in line’ before our line opened because the unofficial line people had established wasn’t being overseen by anyone.”
The biggest worry in this scenario was mollifying an anticipated riot of students at the doors right before ticket sales.
“Most people that did end up in line were really understanding and accommodating, especially because the first thing we did once lines opened was to go around and address people’s questions regarding the choices we made about ticket distribution,” Basker said. “We even brought out extension cords with power strips for people to charge laptops while they waited, which helped lighten the mood.”
SCPC started ticket sales at 3:30 p.m. and all remaining tickets sold out within 20 minutes.
“We pride ourselves at SCPC in running efficient, fun, interesting events and I personally feel like, though we did the best we could with what we have and I’m immensely proud of how we responded, we can do things differently next time,” Basker said.
Because this has happened in the past, with Cirque du Soleil last Spring, SCPC is in the process of brainstorming a number of alternatives in place of using Techstuff2, including using Orgsync, in-person ticket sales scattered over a week, with a certain quota of ticket each day, or opening an interest form for 24 hours and randomly selecting people. The Atlanta Life Committee was unable to test out these options ahead of time as they were preparing for GT night at the Aquarium; however, the Fox has expressed interest in doing other shows with SCPC in the future, so SGA and SCPC will be working to create a solution.