Students receive mobile tickets for football games
Catherine Owers | Thursday, September 4, 2014
This year, student season ticket holders received their tickets in emailed PDF-form, allowing them to access the tickets on mobile devices and making the distribution process more efficient, assistant athletics director for ticketing and technology Rob Kelly said.
“For those who came back on campus at the end of the summer and beginning of the fall semester, to pick up your tickets, you’d have to wait in line,” Kelly said. “If you were a freshman, you’d have to wait in a very long line because you were not only picking up a student booklet, but you were also paying for it at the same time.”
The weather during last year’s ticket distribution also played a role in the decision to issue mobile tickets, Kelly said.
“Last year, students were out in the heat, sweating,” he said. “We were out there handing out bottles of water, the heat was so bad.”
Kelly said an evaluation of the student ticketing process revealed an opportunity to streamline the sale and distribution of tickets.
“[The evaluation] gave us the opportunity to really improve that process, and I think we gave some of that time back to freshmen during their first couple days of classes,” he said. “It also saved the rest of the student body a trip to the ticket office.”
Mobile tickets also allow students to carry fewer items on game days, Kelly said.
“When everybody has their phone on game day, now this is one less thing to worry about,” he said. “You don’t have to worry about leaving them in your dorm. If you’ve got your phone, you’ve got them with you.”
The switch to mobile tickets is a response to the wider use of technology, Kelly said, since “mobile is the future.”
“More and more students are living off of their phone, [so] this just made great sense,” he said. “We’ve taken from the challenge from our administration to be more technologically capable, to really change with the time where we can while still honoring tradition.”
A growing number of schools, including the University of Michigan, are experimenting with mobile ticketing, said Kelly.
“Last year, Michigan was one of just a handful, maybe 10 or 12 schools, that went mobile for their student body,” he said. “There’s something like 40 or more schools that are doing mobile ticketing, and we’re in that cohort now.”
Kelly said students who still wish to have memorabilia from the 2014 football season will be able to order a commemorative ticket sheet at the end of the season.
“We know tickets can be a very emotional experience for people, and that they can hold a lot of meaning and value even beyond the event,” he said. “So we received some feedback from a few individuals who put a high value on being able to have that ticket booklet and keep it as part of a collection. We did consider this in advance, and while we didn’t think it actually made sense to create a replica ticket booklet, we will provide for students to elect to receive a commemorative ticket sheet. It has the beautiful design of all the real iconic images of Notre Dame football and the University of Notre Dame on it.”
Kelly said the use of the mobile tickets went smoothly this past weekend for the football game against Rice.
“I think there’s always a learning curve. I think it’s fair to say that it was slightly slower,” he said. “I’m confident that’s going to go away the farther we get into the season, as everybody gets more familiar with the process, ushers and students alike.”
Kelly said for future games, the ushers will be more rigorous about asking students to keep their phones out as they enter the seating sections after the gate.
“When people get their tickets scanned at the gate, their natural inclination is to put your phone to sleep and stick your phone in your pocket,” he said. “I think that led to some challenges as people got to their seating section, it was a little more difficult to validate that you were in the section you were supposed to be in, unless the usher was actually asking to see your ticket.”
Notre Dame students and fans can expect to see mobile tickets for other sports as well, Kelly said.
“We’re learning a lot from this experience, and we’re really excited about the opportunity of potentially offering mobile as an option for other ticket holders, and if not in football, certainly in our other sports,” he said.