MAHTANI | College Sports Desperate for Mobile Ticketing

When it comes to college football, Georgetown fans don’t have the same luxury as students from schools like Penn State or Ohio State — the ability to tote around college football jerseys and proudly represent their universities’ successful programs. Regardless, all universities share the same problem. They still have an old-fashioned, ineffective way of disbursing tickets to students for large sporting events. While long lines, wasted days and missed classes seem to be an inherent part of the fan’s game-day experience, it is embarrassing at this point that so many schools refuse to take the initiative to become more technologically advanced. In other words, we need an app. Student ticketing could be simplified to merely a few taps on one’s smartphone. In fact, such programs are in the works: Experience, for example, is an Atlanta-based technology firm that works with professional and college teams to transition to mobile ticketing. The company’s website focuses on three primary benefits to users: attracting new fans, increasing ticket use and capturing data on engagement. Athletic departments should be moving student ticketing to mobile platforms, as they would see a significantly higher claim rate and gain a better idea of the number of students attending their games. Experience, which has been in business for just one season, has already signed 14 schools to use its mobile ticketing app. The company provides fans with the option to upgrade their seats at games, sell their season tickets and access promotions from events. Junior Gaspard, the President and CEO of Experience, claims mobile ticketing puts the prospect of acquiring a ticket right in front of students: The new platform allows them to purchase tickets where they spend the most time, reducing a significant portion of the effort traditionally associated with acquiring tickets. With Experience’s method, ticket purchases still remain first-come, first-serve. “For students, this is a solution that’s flexible and easy to use,” Gaspard said. First-time users will obviously have questions, but nothing extinguishes doubt about a new project like positive feedback and prior success with other organizations. Early on, Experience snagged the business of the University of South Carolina, which transitioned to mobile student ticketing this season. South Carolina students can access the Gamecocks’ game-day mobile platform on the Experience app and purchase tickets. Sure enough, over half the student body, more than 17,000 students, downloaded the app. “It’s been an ongoing process as long as I’ve been here to make it as simple as possible for students to get their ticket and get into the game,” South Carolina’s Senior Associate Director Lance Grantham said. Looking at the idea of the startup from a business standpoint, mobile ticketing is patentable for a user-friendly experience. Professional teams and university athletic departments are more likely to pursue services that enhance students’ game-day experiences, as fans are the number one priority. Mobile ticketing puts the fans first by reducing the effort that goes into the ticket purchasing process. Throughout the transition, schools must understand one very important lesson: Students rely on their phones and will jump at the chance to gain access to game-day tickets when it’s at their fingertips.

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