The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Hershey and Perez: Vanderbilt needs to change its student ticket process

Vanderbilt has a glaring problem when it comes to attendance at football games. The overcomplicated ticket process certainly isn’t helping.
Emily Gonçalves
Photo by Emily Gonçalves

While the Vanderbilt football team continues to frustrate fans across the country, here on West End, students have channeled their frustration into another issue: the ticketing process. 

This season, students were caught off guard by a completely new set of steps that involves using multiple systems and websites in order to simply get into Vanderbilt Stadium. 

To get a student ticket, first, a student must download and open the Dore Rewards app. Then, the student must click on the menu button in the top right corner and press the “Claim Tickets” button. This will then send them to a version of Ticketmaster that seems much better fit for the computer. The student then has to type in their email/username and password, but this part is notorious, as it occasionally forces them to try it more than once.

Then, the student is sent to a page where they click “Continue,” which sends them to another page where they “find” their seat, even though they can only claim one random student ticket without an assigned location. After this, they are sent to a page where they have to “add” the ticket to the “cart;” this page is followed by a different page where they select a delivery method (even though there is only one option – “Mobile”) and checkout. Incredibly, this just takes the student to yet another page where they have to agree to the “terms of use” before finally being able to submit.

It should not be surprising that there are many accounts of students failing to obtain their ticket and having to communicate with the box office and McGugin Center on gamedays in order to get into the game. Sophomore Karl Wirth explained how due to the multitude of screens, he did not know when he was finished getting his ticket, leaving him with no ticket come kickoff.

“Because of how many steps there were, I assumed after hitting ‘checkout’ that I was finished with the process. I apparently never got to the step where I agreed to the terms of use.”

Part of the reason why this process frustrates students is because of how different it is for other Commodore sports. For example, when attending baseball and basketball games, students show their student ID to the ticket clerk at the entrance of the field or gymnasium and they are done with the process.  This system makes baseball and basketball more desirable to attend than football and it certainly helps fill up the other two student sections more than the one at Vanderbilt Stadium. So the question begs, why can’t students simply show their card to get into the stadium?

According to the Athletic Office, the new system is intended to ease student ticket access and is, supposedly, simpler than last year’s process.  But no explanation was given by the office as to why showing one’s Commodore Card is not considered in lieu of the complex system.

While larger schools such as University of Southern California or Penn State force students to purchase season ticket plans, Vanderbilt’s already persistent lack of attendance doesn’t necessitate this measure. Schools like the University of Virginia and Northwestern University have success using a swipe system in which any student with a university issued card can go to football games free of charge and hassle.

One of the worst side effects of Vanderbilt’s difficult ticket process is the effect that it has on student attendance.  At a school in which football is already not a focus, the multistep process disincentivizes students to attend games. In addition, by forcing students to claim their tickets before game day, many are left without a ticket on Saturday simply because they forgot or struggled going through the process during the week. But if these students simply had to show their Commodore Card at the entrance of Vanderbilt Stadium, they would not be restricted from that last minute desire to attend the game and student attendance could improve.

Vanderbilt students are extremely fortunate to have free access to all sporting events, as most schools do not provide this opportunity. The student body should be very appreciative of this policy. Sophomore Blake Goldstein frequents Vanderbilt sporting events and makes the most of the free access.

“I really like [the policy], it allows me to go to as many games as I can without worrying about the cost,” Goldstein said. 

Unfortunately, this incentive to go to football games is hindered by the fact that students have to go through a process that is more troublesome than buying an actual ticket. When you combine that with students preferring (and being accustomed to) simply showing their ID at other sports, it is not difficult to see why many students do not even consider getting a ticket, or why they quit after struggling with the process of getting one.

Obviously, issues surrounding football attendance have a multitude of causes. It is a problem that is much more complex than just an annoying ticketing system. Yet, there is undoubtedly a part of the student body that stays inside their dorms on Saturdays instead of going to the game because they would rather not deal with failing to sign-in to their ticket account once again. If athletics wants to increase attendance, making it physically easier to attend the games would go a long way.

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About the Contributors
Justin Hershey, Former Sports Editor
Justin Hershey ('22) was Sports Editor for The Vanderbilt Hustler. He has been on staff since freshman year, previously serving as a Staff Writer, Deputy Sports Editor and Lead Sports Analyst. He majored in human and organizational development with minors in business and economics. In addition to writing, he hosts The Hustler Sports 30 Podcast, enjoys playing golf and is waiting for his hometown Philadelphia 76ers to complete The Process. For tips and comments, feel free to reach out to: [email protected]    
Jaime Perez, Former Staff Writer
Jaime Pérez ('22) was a staff writer for the Sports section from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. He majored in medicine, health and society and minored in business. He is one of the founders of VSUPS and he volunteers as a translator at the Shade Tree Clinic. In his free time, he can be found playing basketball at Vanderbilt's Rec Center, supporting the school's different teams or watching the Boston Celtics. He can be reached at [email protected].
Emily Gonçalves, Former Multimedia Director
Emily Gonçalves (‘20) was the Multimedia Director of the Vanderbilt Hustler. She majored in Mathematics and Economics and minored in Latin American Studies. When she’s not taking photos, you can catch this Jersey girl making puns, singing, advocating for girls’ education and drinking lots of chocolate milk and espresso!
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