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Football ticket paperless option delayed

BY MEGAN SANCHEZ | AUGUST 26, 2013 5:00 AM

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While promised last fall that students would see the implementation of electronic tickets this football season, ticket holders must hold onto those paper versions for at least one more year.

An electronic system that made tickets accessible though students’ IDs was implemented in November 2012 for both men’s and women’s basketball goers.

Technical difficulties prevented UI officials from implementing the system for this fall.

Pam Finke, ticket manager at the UI ticket office, said the implementation is not taking place for this football season because close to 10,000 students buy football tickets, while basketball numbers are about five times less.

The ticket office wants to be sure they have worked out all of the “kinks” in the program before implementing it for football, she said.

They intend to have the system up and running by next fall.

The primary reason for the delay, Finke said, can be attributed to the signal reliability needed for the scanning equipment in an outside venue like Kinnick Stadium.

She said officials want to be sure students are educated on the ticket-transfer process before the program is launched for the fall sport and that as long as all steps are followed, correcting the transfer will work.

However, some UI students point to a number of related concerns.

UI sophomore Lauren Mosiman maintains mixed feelings about the paperless system.

“The electronic tickets are nice and convenient, because you only have to remember your ID, but buying and selling tickets can be harder with the system,” she said.

Sophomore Shannon Ness said not having been a season ticket holder resulted in hassles to obtain game tickets.

“… If I wanted to go to a basketball game, I had to transfer them, and it sometimes wouldn’t work,” Overall, paper is easier for buying and selling,”

In the past, scanning equipment was used for paper tickets but a technology upgrade enabled the UI to implement the paperless tickets at a low cost.

“There were no additional costs specifically associated with this process, we did upgrade our scanning equipment, but student scanning was not the impetus behind the upgrade,” Finke said in an email.

And the implementation of the new program came about for a number of reasons, notably to eliminate printing costs, increase ticket pick-up convenience, and improve upon the overall sustainability process, she said.

And although going paperless is new territory for the UI, the option is not exclusive to Iowa City.

Iowa State University kicked off its system in 2011, while ticket holders at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln went paperless last year.

ISU sophomore Brian Keck had a similar opinion to the UI students on the system.

“I like it, and I dislike it,” he said. “I like it because having them on my student ID makes it convenient to use, but I dislike it because there is an online process for transferring tickets to other students, and that takes a while.”

ISU allows its students to print out tickets before selling them to other students. In those circumstances, an ID wouldn’t be required to get into the games.

Finke also said the UI wants to reduce the amount of selling to non-students.

At the UI, students would not be able to sell their tickets to nonstudents, only other students with a website officials say are still in the planning stages.

“Student tickets are sold at a greatly discounted rate from general public tickets. We do this because we appreciate the support we receive from our current UI students and we believe attendance at intercollegiate athletics events at the UI is part of the experience of being a UI student,” Finke wrote in an email. “We have been in situations where the football or men’s basketball student section is sold out, and it is not fair for non-UI students to be using these tickets when UI students cannot purchase these tickets.”


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