Heard about UT’s new Big Ticket? The Big Ticket replaced the old Longhorn All-Sports Package ticketing system for this upcoming academic year. For those students who have not purchased yet, the priority deadline ended July 8, but tickets can still be purchased. According to UT Athletics, reserved seating for home football games will be allocated in the best available locations within the student section at the time of purchase after the deadline. So, it is better to purchase now than later. This new ticketing system is just as good as the former system, but in the end, students want more options than the lone Big Ticket.
The Big Ticket offers “a reserved seat to every Texas Football home game -- and a simple, general admission access pass to every other UT athletic home event” according to TexasSports.com. I spoke with UT’s Senior Associate Athletic Director and Chief Revenue Officer Steve Hank on July 17th to ask why students are only given one option to purchase tickets. Hank informed me that to administer a program that could handle multiple options would require higher overhead costs for the department. This would potentially result in higher ticket prices for students. By offering one ticket option, the department is able to keep costs down to offer the greatest value possible to the most students. Hank also mentioned that to-date this year, more students have purchased the Big Ticket compared to the number of students that had purchased the LASP at the same time last year. While speaking to Hank, I was also able to confirm that students will still have the option to purchase individual football game tickets from other students by transferring tickets through the TexasSports.com website just as in previous years with the LASP ticketing system.
Honestly, the Big Ticket adds a new extremely convenient feature that allows students to use our student ID card to gain entrance to athletic events — except football in which case print-at-home tickets are required. When purchasing the Big Ticket, there is also an option to purchase one guest season ticket solely for home football games for an additional $425.00 after fees. If purchasing just as a single student the total cost is $195.00. This all-inclusive home game option is less than half the cost of a comparable regular season non-student ticket for football only. For some of us this is definitely a lot of money, but by attending each of the home football games and even just four other athletic events throughout the year, the average price per event ends up becoming less than $20.00 per event. It may also be interesting to note that according to Hank, if students attend every athletic event possible with the Big Ticket, the cost averages out to less than $2.00 per event. Although, I would argue it is highly unreasonable nor realistic to attend more than 100 athletic events in a single year.
Many students are not in favor of the Big Ticket because they would like more options. Business sophomore Aatiq Ghulam said, “It’s beneficial to have more options than just the Big Ticket because not every student can go to every game. Having options such as buying discounted, single game tickets, allows students to have more control over which games they chose to go to and overall give them a better experience.” Because of the lone option of the Big Ticket, Ghulam had not yet purchased the Big Ticket, and did not appear to have plans to do so. Ghulam intends to buy individual football game tickets from Big Ticket holders that will sell their tickets when they cannot attend a game.
I also spoke with international relations and global studies senior William Salazar, who “...feel[s] like the athletic program makes so much money they should be more flexible with the options they give to students to go to sports events.” Salazar mentioned he had just purchased the Big Ticket recently but was not over-excited about paying for events he had no intention of attending.
But this still raises the issue of why students cannot have more options. The UT Athletic Department should offer student-priced tickets for individual athletic events, or even a mini-season football ticket offer that allows a student to attend three of the six home games. These options are already available for non-student priced tickets. We want options as students, not a monopoly that forces us to buy their one offering.
Daywalt is a government senior from Copperas Cove. Follow Daywalt on Twitter @JohnDaywalt.