Vanderbilt-Alabama tickets in high demand for students and Tide fans


Max Schneider, Associate Sports Editor

The past couple weeks, Vanderbilt has received heat on its lack of attendance at football games.  This weekend might just be a different story.

Within minutes of Vanderbilt releasing its tickets for this upcoming game against Alabama, the Student Ticketing Portal malfunctioned.  Students around campus struggled to access tickets on their mobile phones, which has become the new ticket procedure that the university started at the beginning of this season.

A ticket representative told The Hustler, “There was an issue with Ticketmaster due to the overwhelming number of students attempting to claim a ticket.”  If you are one of these students, fear not.  The ticket office seems to have the problem under control, but tickets are being claimed at an alarming rate. There are still tickets available, and all students will receive an email when the tickets are all claimed. It’s certainly a better problem to have than an attendance problem.

UPDATE (11:20 AM Tuesday): Vanderbilt announced that every student ticket has been claimed for this game, indicating a full student section for Saturday. If you claimed a ticket, you must enter the stadium by 15 minutes after kickoff before your ticket is taken back and redistributed. Students wishing to claim a redistributed ticket must line up at the Memorial Gym box office behind Hawkins Field with their student ID. 

UPDATE (9:00 AM Wednesday): The Vanderbilt ticket office told The Hustler that all the tickets were claimed just after 9:00 AM on Tuesday, just 16 hours after they were made available. This appears to be the fastest that all student tickets have been claimed for a Vanderbilt sporting event, at least dating back to 2006. 

While ticket sales seem to point to a dramatic uptick in student attendance, that only accounts for three sections of the stadium.  This past Saturday, the student section was as crowded as it’s been in years, but even that wasn’t enough to drown the Kansas State contingent rumored to have as many as 17,000 fans.  Vanderbilt Stadium holds just north of 40,000 people.

If 17,000 fans embarked on the 11-hour car ride from Manhattan, Kansas, one would have to believe that the premier football program in America will send an even larger party to make the shorter four-hour trek.

Determined to make sure that doesn’t happen, the ticket office has been putting a little pressure on Alabama fans.  For starters, the ticket office didn’t offer single-game tickets for this game for a long time. Fans could purchase tickets for any home game with the exception of Alabama, as an Alabama ticket would only be available through a season ticket package. As the game got closer, Vanderbilt slowly began to ease access to a coveted Alabama ticket.

Vanderbilt then offered a three-game ticket package, featuring matchups against Alabama A&M and Missouri, in addition to the Alabama game.  The package offered tickets starting at $140 for three games, just $11 more than tickets for the Alabama weekend alone, a steal for two more games. The deal provides no benefit for Alabama fans, and figures to only cater to Vanderbilt fans in Nashville and the surrounding area.

As Alabama fans still ate the cost of extra tickets and bought those mini plans, Vanderbilt finally made single-game tickets available for the Alabama game only in recent weeks.

On top of the ticket packages, the individual ticket price of this game is sky high.  Tickets opened up at $129, and that’s just for end zone seats.  This price is a far cry from the average cost of a Vanderbilt football ticket, which sat at $31.50 in 2016.  While this might not deter the die-hard Tide supporter who is used to paying upwards of $100 for a ticket, it might just turn off the rowdy Alabama student with not-so-deep pockets.

The attendance problem at Vanderbilt has not gone unnoticed.  But for Vanderbilt fans, rest assured; fans and ticket-sellers are prepared to make sure that this weekend is different.