While the Jackets’ football season got off to a quick start this year with the team capturing two victories in less than a week, students have been less than thrilled concerning the new ticketing process. Across campus, students have been sounding off on Tech’s newly implemented ticket policy, following issues with the online system and with security at the game.
Despite informational videos and campaigns explaining the new system from both the Athletic Association (AA) and SGA, students still found trouble in using it. Even before the start of the season students began to voice concerns over the new system.
The ticketing website’s user interface did not experience problems in its first few weeks of operation. However, users experienced multiple problems that resembled server crashes during the Jacksonville State and Clemson games’ registration times.These crash-like errors were the result of too many users accessing the website at once, after the Athletic Association’s decisions to repeatedly change season ticket purchasing windows. General ticket registration times were changed three times, from the original timeslot on Wednesday at 8:00 AM, to Wednesday at 12 p.m. and finally to Friday at 8 a.m..
Yet, the ticketing system never actually crashed. It only appeared to have done so after the 500 newly released student season tickets sold out in a matter of minutes when they were released at 8 a.m. on Wednesday. This was unknown to those in charge in the Athletic Association until 11 a.m., a couple of hours after posting that the new season tickets would go on sale at noon.
In the process, the release date and time of the free single game passes were changed three times. Initially the tickets were supposed to be released on Wednesday at 8 a.m.. This timeslot was pushed back to noon of that day to allow for the new season tickets release. Then the time was shifted to 8 a.m. Friday so that the new season tickets that were already purchased could be released at 12 p.m. For the remainder of the season, all single game tickets will be up for request a week and a half prior to the Saturday home game.
“I couldn’t purchase a season ticket the first time around because I was having trouble with my Georgia Tech account username so I couldn’t register,” said Daniel Stratton, third-year MGT major, “Then, when I tried to buy a season ticket when they were supposed to open up the new ones, I wasn’t able to because they hadn’t been released yet, I guess.”
Once inside the stadium, students found it difficult as well to move through the student sections in the north and south ends of the stadium. Recently added ushers hired by the AA forced fans without the proper ticket voucher away from their purchased seats at the Jacksonville State and Clemson games. The ushers were there to control students from entering into unauthorized sections. However, in some instances at the Jacksonville State game, students without their vouchers were forced to stand. At the same game, some students were forced to leave the game entirely.
“I just want to be able to see all my friends during the game,” said Abby Kroll, third-year MGT major. “Needless to say, I’ve been disappointed with the new seating arrangements so far.”
Because the student response following the Jacksonville State game, SGA representatives asked the ushers to cut back on section monitoring following the first quarter to allow for more student mobility. However, these changes were not in place for much of the Clemson game the following Thursday.
“All of a sudden the student section doesn’t feel much like a student section,” said Matt Peterka, third-year ME major. “Before, there weren’t many limits to where you could go watch the game with your friends. If you wanted better seats, you had to get to the game earlier. Now it seems like the seat and section numbers were given out randomly. It doesn’t seem as fair that people are paying for their seats now but having less choice in selecting them than a year ago.”
In addition to problem within student seating, some students reported waiting in a formless mass of students as long as 20 minutes prior to the game against Clemson.
To allay student dissatisfaction, the AA and SGA representatives are addressing the issues as quickly as possible. The two promise that the problems with student ticketing both from online registration and at the game will be fixed as soon as the next game. With student critique coming in after every game, SGA has been meeting with the AA each week to discuss ways to improve.
After last week’s meeting with the AA, SGA promises that students will be much freer to move through the student section.
“SGA is asking the AA to significantly decrease the vigilance of the event staff so students are free to move around after the first 10 minutes of game time,” SGA Undergraduate President Alina Staskevicius.
Also under way is the installation of ten BuzzCard reading turnstiles to expedite student entrance. These turnstiles will be ready for the next home game against UNC, Sept. 26.
“SGA is working on getting more block flexibility on a per game basis for next year. We are also going to try to get the ability to allow people with guest passes to sit in blocks,” Staskevicius said. “Eventually, SGA wants it to be possible for students to use BuzzCards, debit cards, and credit cards inside the stadium to purchase food and drink.”
To address student concerns directly, SGA will be holding an open forum to specifically address ticketing Sept. 29 at 7pm in room 117 of the Flag Building.
“We’re continuously asking for student feedback and accepting e-mails. Student government organizes a meeting with the Athletic Association after every football game to continuously improve.”