University of Pittsburgh students, like many other students across the country, use their campus ID to gain access to sporting events on campus. Pitt students, however, cannot transfer tickets from one ID to another, forcing those without a ticket to brave the resale market.
According to The Pitt News, the resale market for basketball tickets – on sites like StubHub and others – saw prices soar as high as $80 or more for standing-room-only tickets, with actual seats fetching in excess of $100. In the days leading up to Pitt basketball games, a number of the tickets resold at these inflated prices are student tickets located in the Oakland Zoo, the Pitt basketball student section.
Under the university’s current program student tickets are non-transferrable, meaning that in order to attend a game the name on a student’s ticket must not only match the name on their student ID, but also the name that appears on the bar code scanner’s screen at the gate. If these three names do not match, as would be the case if a ticket were resold, the student will not be admitted to the game.
This has prompted students to call for an overhaul of the ticketing system, specifically an overhaul of the current structure that would enable students to transfer their basketball tickets to others. This practice already exists in a couple of different forms. One method would be to allow students to resell their tickets through the Athletic Department’s website, or alternatively, conduct ticket exchanges via a third-party ticket merchant – a method that is used for professional sporting events.
At the moment, the process for buying student basketball tickets is based on a loyalty point system. This system works relatively well for games that have a lower demand for tickets, as students are able to purchase tickets through the Athletic Department’s online portal. When demand for student tickets rises above a particular threshold, however, students are entered into a lottery system to determine who will receive tickets to that game.
Students earn loyalty points by attending past basketball games, and depending on the number of loyalty points accumulated, the student may be entered into the lottery more than once, thus increasing their chances of receiving a ticket.
There remains no option, however, to transfer tickets to other students if a ticket holder changes their mind about attending a game.
Herein lies the problem. Students with tickets resell at a higher price to make a profit. But in buying these resold tickets other students run the risk of losing their money, as the name on the resold ticket doesn’t match the ticker seller’s ID.