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Volume 22 No. 39
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Schools go exclusively mobile to draw students

Oregon has offset the cost of the app with a sponsorship.
Oregon has offset the cost of the app with a sponsorship.
Oregon has offset the cost of the app with a sponsorship.

Long lines, missed class time and wasted afternoons at the ticket office traditionally have been part of the college experience at big-time football schools.


But as more athletic departments move their student tickets to mobile, they’re seeing a higher claim rate, more certainty about how many students are in the stadium and, ultimately, schools believe, more students showing up for the game. The ease of mobile student ticketing has reduced the process of claiming tickets to three simple taps on the screen of a smartphone.


Experience, the Atlanta-based technology firm that works with pro and college teams, has signed 14 schools to use its mobile ticketing platform. This is Experience’s second college football season selling the mobile platform.


Junior Gaspard, Experience’s president and CEO, said mobile ticketing puts tickets right in front of students where they spend the most time — on their phone.


“For students, this is a solution that’s flexible and easy to use,” Gaspard said.


South Carolina went to mobile student ticketing this season. Students go through the Gamecocks’ game-day mobile app to access a special portal for tickets. More than half of the student body — enrollment is 34,000 — has downloaded the app. They’ll use it for all of the school’s sports.


“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,” said Lance Grantham, South Carolina’s senior associate athletic director for ticketing and customer relations, who is in his 11th football season with the Gamecocks. “Now we’ve got all of the students using mobile to access their tickets. The technology does the work, from claiming the ticket to delivery.”


Understanding that students would be completely reliant on their phone to produce the bar code for entry to the game, the athletic department distributed mobile battery chargers to students prior to the season opener.


Oregon, another one of Experience’s 14 school clients, not only put in the mobile platform to use with student tickets, the Ducks also sold a sponsorship on the app. Their multimedia rights holder, IMG College, arranged a deal with a popular local coffee shop, Dutch Bros. Coffee, giving the business branding on each page of the ticketing app and the opportunity to provide giveaways to students through the app.


“That’s helped us offset the cost of the app,” said Jason Harris, Oregon’s assistant AD, ticket sales and services.


Harris believes there will always be a place for paper tickets as keepsakes, but using mobile “has gone a long way toward eliminating hurdles and getting students to the games.”