The student-ticket dilemma
The once quiet Sun Devil stadium transforms into a sea of gold and maroon as the anticipation of kickoff draws near. The silence is broken as Arizona State students pile into the beloved student section. But just as the stadium atmosphere transforms, so do the students. These academics morph into chanting fans by Saturday night.
But what makes this complete stadium transformation possible? The student ticket distribution process.
What many television viewers and assigned-seat attendees might not know is that many of the students wait in line for hours and some even camp out throughout the week prior to ticket distribution.
“It adds to their game day experience because instead of it just being a Saturday-game-day thing it lasts a little bit longer so it helps them getting hyped up for the game,” Associate Athletic Director William Kennedy says.
The outside of Wells Fargo Arena serves as a campground for students as they patiently wait for ticket distribution to begin.
“I think there’s a certain amount of students that have a tremendous amount of spirit, pride and tradition and one of the ways that they show that is by camping out and it makes them feel closer to the game experience,” Kennedy says.
Some students only camp out for the games against hefty opponents.
“I am going to camp out for major games like Utah and Notre Dame,” journalism sophomore Madalyn Heimann says.
However Kennedy says there are other ways for students to get tickets that don’t include camping out.
“That’s not for everybody and that doesn’t have to be the only way that you show spirit, pride and tradition there are many other ways of doing it as well," Kennedy says. "It's not to say that somebody that camps out has more ASU spirit or pride or tradition then somebody that doesn’t but it's just for those groups of students that like doing that, that’s how they express it.”
Others like Taylor Kerns, a third-year health unit coordinating student at Gateway Community College, buy a ticket ahead of time and then stand in line with other ASU students to receive a wristband for the game, making it a two-step process.
Since the athletic fee is now included in tuition for all ASU sports, Kennedy says adjustments have been made to the student ticket distribution process to make it more efficient.
“There’s a committee made up of students and administrators that got together to come up with the ticketing process because every student does have access to tickets," Kennedy says. "The best way to do that [was] decided upon by the committee, to do a first-come, first-serve ticket process.”
Kerns feels the distribution process is a good one.
“I mean it was pretty easy, honestly,” she says.
However, Heimann feels the process is more geared toward Tempe students.
“I think in some ways it’s a good ticket process, but in some ways it's kind of messed up because it pretty much caters to Tempe students,” Heimann says. “So it's harder for students from other campuses to get tickets since we don’t live in Tempe.”
According to Kennedy, “The Poly and West campuses have shuttles that they can take to the game, so they can get their tickets through the shuttle system—and the downtown students currently just utilize the same thing as Tempe students.”
Kennedy says they always review the system after each game and after the season to make the process more efficient.
“We always reevaluate the system because we want it to be the best and most efficient system that works for the greatest amount of students," Kennedy says. "The great thing is we do have students involved in the process, so they’re integral in helping us refine it.”
When the 2014 football season comes to a close the committee will look for ways to improve the entire system.
“Certainly when the season's over we’ll look at it as a whole and essentially see how going into next year we can make it better for students,” Kennedy says.
Regardless of what path students take to get their wristbands, the goal is the same: to sit in the much sought-after student section.
“I guess I prefer the student section over the other ones because there is way more energy,” Kerns says.
“My favorite part of the student section is the environment and the school spirit,” Heimann says. “I went to a really small high school and they didn’t have a football team so being able to be a part of a big school with a big student section is a lot of fun.“
At the end of the day, Kennedy says it is important to show your support for ASU.
“Just please come out and support the football team,” Kennedy says.
Reach the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @ShelbyHyde.