As most college students are aware, time doesn’t exist in abundance. Between courses, assignments, commuting downtown and pursuing individual interests, most of us aren’t looking to spend multiple hours standing in line. The student entry process for athletic events is one inefficiency on campus that deserves attention and improvement.
Under the current system, Loyola students are granted admission to athletic events inside of Gentile Arena after showing their student ID at the entrance. Unfortunately, students can only redeem this perk in person as they enter the game. Students can’t purchase tickets ahead of time unless they weather the cost of a non-student ticket, which are listed on StubHub for upwards of $60.
Because admission is guaranteed at the door, lines forming hours in advance of tip-off is not a rare occurrence. In some instances, dedicated fans go as far as skipping class to guarantee themselves a good seat in Gentile Arena. While this may add to the excitement around the Damen Student Center, Loyola’s Athletic Department should pursue electronic ticketing for students so they don’t have to wait in line.
As some may recall, the line for admission at the season-opener for the 2018-19 campaign ran through Damen and all the way to the statue of the Rev. Damen S.J., roughly 100 yards from the start of the line. Many students were turned away at the door after waiting for multiple hours hoping to watch the game in person. While this is the nature of demand outweighing supply, technology provides a simple solution to this.
One possible solution to this issue is the utilization of a third-party service that handles ticket distribution. Several software applications specialize in ticket management and distribution and one could easily be utilized for Loyola basketball games. Regardless of the site, the cost of tickets will be a concern for students because entry has been free for years and charging admission could potentially harm attendance. In order to satisfy this need, the site would facilitate more of a seat reservation than a ticket purchase. Once a ticket has been reserved, the student can arrive to the game at whatever time is most convenient for them.
This way, a student whose class ends at 6 p.m. can still go to a 7 p.m. game. Allowing student to reserve a ticket online creates a level playing field for all Loyola basketball supporters and will ultimately tap into a larger fanbase because students who have class an hour before a game will still be able to attend.
When asked about this idea, Brian Day, the director of Marketing and Ticket Operations for Loyola Athletics, seemed to embrace the idea of integrating technology with the student entry process at Loyola events and has already started testing potential solutions to this problem.
“We are constantly striving to improve the student experience at our games and we’re hopeful a new entry process will contribute to that,” Day said.
Some may argue the long line of students adds to the excitement of game day on campus, but allowing fans to reserve a ticket opens the door for more exciting pregame events. This could be one way to add to the experience of attending a Loyola athletic event.
Integrating technology with the student entry process would make Loyola Athletic events more consumer-centric than they were in previous seasons. Recent business trends reinforce the idea that prioritizing customers ultimately yields a more successful organization. Ease of access for students will pay dividends when the team performs well because admission will be better prepared to facilitate crowds of students, and it will remain an asset to the Athletic Department if the team performs poorly because attending a game will not require much effort from students.