The Athletic Association (AA) announced a new set of ticketing policies and procedures for the men’s basketball season this year. Changes were implemented this past week for the game against the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. As part of the changes, students will no longer be required to sign up online to obtain a ticket prior to the game. Instead, students will be required only to show their Buzzcard at the entrance to the game. In addition students will be allowed to take floor seats, with limited priority given to SWARM members.
Prior to this season, the AA implemented an online ticketing system that required students to sign up in advance for tickets and present them at the entrance gate. This year, students will automatically be assigned tickets for the game on their Buzzcard and will be allowed to enter the game based on arrival times.
“When I first came here we were using the ticket return system through which students had to login multiple times and sign up several days in advance to get tickets…it was very cumbersome,” said Doug Allvine, the Assistant Athletic Director of Special Projects.
In addition to moving student tickets offline and directly onto student Buzzcards, the AA has decided to allow non-SWARM members the opportunity to take floor seats. SWARM members present at the entrance gate one hour before tip-off will still be allowed to take up floor seats prior to regular student-ticket holders. If the SWARM does not have enough members to fill up the floor seats, students with regular tickets will be allowed to go on the floor.
Any SWARM members who arrive after the floor seats are opened to general student ticket holders but before the 300 person limit for floor seating is reached will also be allowed to stand on the floor during the game. Non-SWARM members who wish to sit on the floor must be registered as students, not wear opposing colors, and will be asked to stay for the duration of the game.
“The SWARM have traditionally been our most ardent fans, but even they will admit that with the attendance last year that they didn’t fill up the seats or they didn’t fill them up quick enough at the start of the game,” said Allvine. “This came not from us or the students but from the basketball team, because they really want us to make sure that the floor is filled and the crowd is excited before tip-off.”
However, some students are unhappy with the proposed changes to the floor seating policy.
“I was really disappointed to hear that the AA was opening up floor seats in the basketball games to all students… it takes away the tangible advantages to being in SWARM,” said Chandler Epp, a third year IAML.
“I think this is a terrible system and it doesn’t award fan loyalty… it doesn’t create a good atmosphere and it really just encourages bandwagon fans to show up for big games,” said Hari Gopal, a third year MGT major.
Depending on attendance during the season, the AA is considering implementing an online ticketing system for popular games, similar to the ticketing system used for football.
“Although we haven’t had to turn students away from basketball games yet, if the demand for tickets exceeds the supply, then we will setup an online ticketing system,” said Graham Neff, the Assistant Director of Ticketing.
If such an online system is put in place, some students will be given priority tickets to game based on attendance and arrival time.
“If for some reason we go for an online sign-up system we’ll setup a group called ‘Super-Jacket Fans,’ and 400 students will automatically be given tickets for that game. The remaining students will have to sign up for tickets online,” said Allvine.