Student Season Tickets, Brilliant!
I am an avid watcher of College Football Live and College Gameday on ESPN. College Gameday, the weekly Saturday morning preview show, may be one of the best shows on television and is as entertaining as it is informative. Due to College Gameday’s popularity and the increase in college football viewers, ESPN started College Football Live, a thirty-minute daily show at 12:30 PST that provides new college football information and previews the week’s games.
Often around Tuesday ESPN show’s cameras at Paternoville. They show shots of fans singing the Penn State fight song, “Touchdown, Fight On, State”. If you don’t know what Paternoville is all about, I’m about to explain it.
Tickets at Penn State are sold in front of Beaver Stadium (PSU’s home field) and the question is what do students do for tickets? What happens is that the students wait outside for days. It’s a sure bet that after each Penn State game a few students just go sit in front of the ticket office again and wait for days and days until it opens, but these guys are nuts. They set up tents, in line, outside of the stadium, often in freezing weather. They battle the elements as well as Bear Grylls. As much as I admire their fandom, I don’t think that we’ll see that replicated at the U of O, but it could get to that point (hopefully not).
These ticket office squatters are the ultimate fans. These are the people who need to go the games. And by need, I equate “need” with a means of survival. If the ticket office squatters didn’t get student tickets, they would buy regular tickets. They would rent a skybox if they had to.
Now is this system perfect? No. It’s cool… but it doesn’t work.
In fact, I would say that the current system is deeply flawed. Football at Penn State is an incredibly popular sport. It is THE sport. No other athletic event makes more money for the school, the athletic department or gets more attention for the school at Penn State the students are passionate and willing to wait for days to get tickets, because it’s the “go to” event. So how does that compare with what is a t U of O?
The ASUO (Associated Students of the University of Oregon) has pitched the idea to get student season tickets. This means that a student can pay a fee (current guesses are the fee would be half the price of face value of each ticket) of three hundred dollars.
When I heard about this idea, I was embarrassed I had not been championing this idea for months. It’s a fantastic idea. Let me explain the process.
There are three ways students get tickets.
1. Wait in line for tickets.
A lot of schools, such as Penn State, require students wait outside the stadium in lines in order to purchase tickets. The main benefit for students using this method is that the diehards will almost always get tickets; the students who need to go will stand in line for hours or days in order to ensure themselves getting a ticket. It’s also great for telling stories, “My sophomore year when Ohio State came, battle of Top 10 teams, me and my buds waited for five days, battling the cold and hangovers on Wednesdays”. What’s bad about this for students is that they often have to wait outside for days. If I had a conversation with President Richard Lariviere, this is how it would go: “President Lariviere, can I call you Rich? I know you’re obviously concerned with the tail wagging the dog at the U of O, the athletic department in control of the school. Do you really want the symbol of athletic fandom: students waiting in lines Tuesday for a Saturday game with beers in hand on College Football Live? ……..I didn’t think so.”
2. Release the tickets Sunday at 6 pm.
This is the current system at U of O. Students log on to goducks.com and at 6 pm the tickets for the week’s games go on sale. It is then a mad dash to get tickets, leading me to hire a 16-year-old tech nerd to break in to the system for me at 5:50 pm to buy a ticket. Just kidding. But seriously. A lot of students who need to go to the game are left out at this process, either because they weren’t fast enough or the server went down due to too much traffic, which has happened a few times.
3. Season Tickets for students and then sell tickets online.
Selling season tickets to the duck football and basketball teams are one of the best ideas ever. This way, the diehards are guaranteed getting their tickets. Sure, some people who can afford it and aren’t diehards will get season tickets also but almost every diehard will get one (and if you’re not clamoring for these season tickets, you’re not a diehard, contrary to what you believe or what you tell other people). This would allow the people who don’t need to go to every game to compete online. Also, a large portion of students would not have to get online, decreasing the amount of traffic and speeding the process up.
Students are already paying for tickets. There are student fees (I believe it’s around five dollars for each student). That student fee pays for a student’s ability to get a free ticket. When the new “student season tickets” are instituted, paying the five dollar fee allows you to buy the season tickets, or get free tickets the week of the game, so the argument that “We don’t want to pay for tickets, we’re students and we already pay for a lot of stuff” doesn’t work. Students only pay more if they elect to buy season tickets
Purchasing non-student season tickets can be a hard and expensive process. I believe there is a waiting list. In order to purchase season tickets in the donor section, a person first has to “donate” some money to the Duck Athletic Fund. That’s just to be eligible and it does not include the cost of the tickets. That’s the base donation. If you donate more, and by more I mean multiple thousands of dollars, you can get access to pre and post game tailgates sponsored by the U of O. As a benefit to buying season tickets, while a student (pay extra when you buy the season ticket), you could be eligible for season tickets right away and get access to a few of the functions. For non-students, there are seats available without the donation, but they are not as cool. They’re not in the student section for one thing and they’re designated for specific seats for another, which means that you cannot sit with your buds unless they have season tickets in your row with you.
Once you are eligible to buy season tickets as a fan/booster/alumni, you pay face value for each ticket, after your donation. As students, we would only need to buy each ticket at half the price, without the donation.
“Oh but half price is still more than we should buy! Three hundred dollars is more than half the price of tickets!”
If price is an obstacle you really don’t “need” to go to the games. If you are at any point in time, doubting whether this is a great investment, it’s not for you. If you’re willing to take risks every week then you’re crazy.
Here’s what I mean. If you love duck football, and you’re addicted, you can scrounge together three hundred dollars. If you’re not addicted to quack you won’t. . A crack addict who is without a job, without income, without family, and without direction, somehow find ways to fund their one hundred dollars a day habit. Without money, they are able to somehow get enough money for their crack addictions. Quack addictions are certainly healthier. Someone will help.
I am addicted to quack, and everyone who is, will pay for the season tickets. It’s kind of like how Seth, from Superbad, would get killed for sex.
No questions asked.
If you’re complaining about fewer free tickets, I have no sympathy because you’re not a diehard. Further, there is a financial reward and the possibility of generating more student participation at games with student season tickets. If the ASUO offers season tickets as described the ASUO will actually have more money to buy more student tickets, effectively expanding the student section. Student sections are often miniaturized in many college stadiums and it’s time for students to get more seats back.
So please, ASUO, use my quack addiction for good, so that more students may be able to attend duck football games.
For those that are complaining about paying more than half of face value because that money will end up going to other students, get over it. You’re getting a great deal on guaranteed tickets.
Maybe the ASUO should give some of the season ticket holders some extra benefits. Let them get into the seats 10 minutes early. Rope off a section in the student section. Something that doesn’t cost anything but is valuable to a student season ticket holder. If the school allowed students to bring alcohol in if they had season tickets, they might be able to sell these tickets for six hundred dollars.
So, say you’re still not convinced on the season ticket price. Let me give you another real example and a reason to join my side of the discussion.
Arizona State charges a hundred and fifty dollars that allows the student to an option for a special membership. First, they’re not a good team. They finished in the lower half of the conference last year and have a stadium capacity of 73,379. This means that there is less demand for tickets in relation to the supply.
Pitt charges ninety-nine dollars for student season tickets. Pitt has been a good football school for a long time. But there’s also the basketball team at Pitt. There is also the fact that they’re not the biggest name school in their own state (Penn State is). Pitt’s stadium capacity is 69,400.
Cal-Berkeley, another PAC-10 team, charges ninety-nine dollars for a season ticket per student. Cal has a basketball team that has been very competitive. Stadium capacity is 71,799. But before you get upset about the ninety-nine dollars, if you look closely, that’s for a discount deal. Cal has had attendance problems for years. When they don’t have a big game, attendance is low, but when USC and Stanford come to town, then everyone shows up. The season tickets are an attempt by the school to sell tickets to every game.
They don’t want students to go to just a few, they want them at all of them, even the bad ones. Oregon doesn’t have that problem.
In contrast, Oregon’s football program has recently become the “cats meow” of the PAC-10. The championship football team, returning almost everyone (Why Masoli! Why!), and a coach that gives about as many sound bites as Gus Johnson and Howard Stern. (I can’t wait for Lane Kiffin v. Rick Neuheisel v. Chip Kelly this season)
Many experts believe that Oregon is entering the Golden Age of its program, meaning the window of opportunity for sustained greatness will be determined based on the success of the next few seasons (see Miami Hurricanes 1980’s national championships, the school almost killed the program, but after the huge streak of success they are now considered a top choice for recruits, no matter how bad they were the season before).
This means that this is a very exciting time at Oregon. There is a high demand for Oregon tickets. But Oregon’s capacity isn’t as large as the other stadiums in the PAC-10 and other schools around the country. Autzen stadium only holds 54,000 people, officially.
Oregon is the premier school in Oregon, and the lack of coverage on the Oregon State criminal acts is proof that the media and the rest of the country really doesn’t care about Oregon State football that much (I can’t wait for a response on that comment. Bring it trolls).
Also, football is currently the sport at the U of O. Basketball is currently in a slump and will be on the rise, but for now it’s a slight embarrassment. People want to gravitate to the successful sports. Duke football doesn’t have high attendance, but the school couldn’t charge enough for basketball tickets. If for some reason Duke football surpassed Duke basketball, I’m sure the ticket sales for football would go through the roof and basketball tickets would be easier to get a hold of.
If the ASUO made the decision to add student season tickets, it would be one of the best decisions it has made. Three hundred is a completely fair price and will help add more students to the games. It’s a way to allow the diehard fans who need to go to the game an assured avenue to get tickets. It effectively distributes tickets and creates funds for the ASUO to help students.
It’s cool, and it works.