The past two home games have been exciting examples of Tech spirit. Unfortunately, many aspects of the ticketing system and in-game administration left much to be desired.
A disappointing number of students encountered extreme delays attempting to enter the stadium. We appreciate that Student Government Association and the Athletic Association have decided to install 10 more student ticketing points at the south entrance of the stadium, but attention needs to be paid to the speed at which students are funneled through the existing entrances at the north gate. While security is obviously a concern, the amount of time taken per student to move them through the requisite pat-down, ID check, voucher check and finally Buzzcard scan is significantly longer than the entrance procedures for all other ticket-holders. These delays are a poor example of customer service to the thousands of students forced to stand in line behind those gates while fans of opposing teams stroll through without hardly pausing.
Once inside the stadium, many of the new ticketing policies severely detract from the game-day experience. Students who get individual game tickets or who attend with friends on guest passes are forced to sit in the south end-zone or upper decks. The prospect of sitting alone in an upper deck without the option of visiting with friends in lower blocks is not very appealing, and is not likely to attract students to fill the seats, as was obvious from the vacant seats in the upper decks at the north end zone.
Of course, the voucher policy theoretically allows for students to move about freely after the first quarter without interference from ushers or the need to keep a hold of their vouchers. In practice, ushers have continually enforced sections throughout the entirety of the games, in some cases checking the same students in the same seats as many as four times after the end of the first quarter. Students were evicted from sections when they could not produce their vouchers quickly enough.
It has been proposed that the ushers be instructed to now only check for vouchers for the first ten minutes of the game, which is a fair compromise. Most importantly, it should be remembered that students have self-enforced these sections for year, and should be treated like adults.
Ushers should be willing to work with students. Currently ushers spend almost all of the first quarter and much of the later checking vouchers and forcing students away from the sections that they patrol. This police-work can detract from the students’ game day experience and distract ushers from more pressing issues such as violent or drunken fans. We recommend that the AA instruct the ushers to work with documented block-members to evict people who are identified as non-members, rather than actively patrolling each section. This would vastly improve relations between students and the staff who are at the games to help things go smoothly.
The ushers should treat the students like all other guests, as clients. The ultimate goal of the ushers should be customer service to the paying students. The student tickets might not be the main revenue source for the AA, but the increased costs on top of the athletic fees did provide over $200,000 in ticketing revenue this year.
Above all else the AA should remember that for students, the game-day experience is about enjoying yourself while cheering on your team in the company of your friends and classmates. Difficult entrance procedures, stressful ushers and isolated seats detract from that experience, diminishing home games for everyone who attends.