This year, Penn State Athletics decided to transfer student tickets to mobile ticketing, expanding its partnership with Ticketmaster.
While switching to mobile ticketing is likely an attempt at finding a smoother process for ticket holders to enter Beaver Stadium, there is the potential that this new process may actually add more headache for fans.
Students will still be required to bring their Penn State IDs to the gates. However, instead of simply swiping their IDs, the previous requirement, students will now also need to show working, charged cell phones, where their tickets are stored on an app.
Before this change, swiping a student ID would identify the student and show whether or not they had a valid ticket to the game. Now, with the switch to mobile ticketing, what was previously one step and has been turned into two — a switch that seems slightly confusing if the intention is to make the ticket checking process more efficient.
With mobile ticketing comes the potential that a ticket holder may not get into Beaver Stadium if their phone dies, as it would be impossible to prove a ticket is valid.
As a preventative measure, Beaver Stadium will feature cell phone charging stations outside the stadium. However, it seems logical to plan for the fact that lines will be long with people waiting to power their phones back on.
Many people will do almost anything to have their phones charged — it shouldn’t come as a surprise that some fans may use these charging stations whether or not they really need them desperately.
It is unclear whether or not there will be employees monitoring these charging stations. Regardless, it also seems there could be the potential for fans to treat getting a turn at the charging station as a more aggressive, “every man for themselves” type situation.
There will also be students who do not have cell phones with the ability to use ticketing apps. What options are being presented for these students? Will there be some type of system for people who cannot access tickets? Will some students find out the answer is no and miss the first game of the season?
Another issue presented by the new ticketing system is the absence of the student ticket exchange.
In the past, students could sell their tickets online in the exchange’s regulated market, where they could buy tickets without putting much additional thought into it. Now, students need to know who they will be transferring the ticket to and will need to make payment plans independently.
This could lead to students selling tickets for prices even higher than they have in the past, making Penn State football tickets harder to come by. For some major Big Ten games like Ohio State and Michigan, tickets can sell for as much as $300 or $400 — and these prices may only continue to get higher with this switch.
Students will also need to ensure they download their tickets on their phones before attempting to enter Beaver Stadium, given the notorious lack of phone service in a sea of more than 100,000 people.
Another major question regarding this decision is, why change what isn’t broken? There weren’t any pressing issues relating to the former ticketing operation that made a change like this feel necessary — at least not for the students.
It is quite possible that the new ticketing system could work out more efficiently than some may anticipate. But we can only hope that if issues arise, Penn State will take notes and make the necessary improvements for following football seasons.