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Keep free market in new ticket system

BY DI EDITORIAL BOARD | SEPTEMBER 19, 2012 6:30 AM

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This November, paper men’s basketball tickets for University of Iowa students will become a thing of the past as the university begins a move toward a new system of electronic ticketing.

Under the new system, as reported in The Daily Iowan, students who purchase tickets to home games will have the tickets digitally assigned to their student ID cards. Students will no longer have to pick up their student tickets or present paper tickets at Carver-Hawkeye — simply presenting their IDs will suffice.

While many tout the paperless ticketing as a wave of the future, the new system of e-ticketing could prove disruptive to students’ ability to buy and sell their tickets. We urge the UI to make it as easy as possible for students to buy and sell tickets to each other, allowing free-market ticket sales to go on unencumbered. 

Similar e-ticket plans are in place at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Iowa State University, two plans that have affected students’ ability to freely trade their tickets very differently.

At Nebraska, students face new limitations; they cannot buy or sell tickets 24 hours prior to game time. At Iowa State, however, students are able to print off their tickets and sell them freely.

The system that will be employed at the UI will allow students to buy and sell their tickets only to other UI students on a website that has not yet been built. This website should include the ability to freely purchase and sell tickets without additional cost not found in the current paper-ticket system.

Some students worry that the new system will further complicate the buying and selling of student tickets.

UI junior Alec Wilcox agreed that the electronic tickets will most likely increase the challenges of selling tickets.

“I buy student tickets every year and already have a hard time selling them,” he said. “I don’t think this would make it easier.”

UI junior Chelsea Colpitts, a member of the Hawkeye women’s track team, said that she does not support having completely electronic tickets because she fears that it will increase costs for her friends and family.

“Last year, I didn’t even buy student tickets,” she said. “I just bought my tickets from other students, and it was often less than face value.”

The cost of buying student tickets for friends and family made it feasible for her family members to join her at football games, Colpitts said.

“[The electronic tickets] will make it a lot harder for my family because it will be more expensive,” she said.

Proponents of the measure argue that e-tickets would allow students to save time by eliminating the long lines ticket-buyers have to go through at the IMU prior to the season. Adding to the convenience, students would scan their ID cards instead of their paper tickets, leaving them with one fewer thing to remember on game day.

Likewise, supporters contend that the e-tickets would cut back on paper use, thereby furthering the UI’s sustainability goals at sporting events. To solidify their argument, proponents contend that the e-tickets would more effectively reserve the student section for primarily students.

Though a paperless system obviously saves trees, its costs to students outweigh its benefits. A paperless system needs to be able to provide the best of its predecessor to students, while providing increased convenience it touts.

We urge the university to provide a marketplace for free electronic sale of tickets in the new system that resembles the current exchange in the ticket system now.


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