At the SGA Town Hall on athletics and student tickets on Tuesday evening, panelists discussed challenges of perfecting the student-section experience and the problems affecting that experience.
Brad Smith, assistant director of student involvement, explained some of the policy decisions made in recent years to improve the student experience at football games.
Smith said the option of students transferring their ticket to someone else was eliminated to prevent non-students from taking up seats in the student section.
“By eliminating that, we were trying to get that person out of the pot that was just buying to sell,” Smith said. “All of these things just to try to fill the student section with people that want to be at the games and that were Auburn students.”
Guest passes were added to satisfy the demand from students to bring guests and to help fill the student section at certain times, Smith said.
Derrick Brown, football player and incoming president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, said that while it’s nice to see Auburn fans cheering the team on, there’s nothing quite like seeing his peers supporting him during games.
“These people you see every single day, they are there supporting you, and they know what you do, and that’s big for me,“ Brown said.
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He said it means a lot to be able to go to the student section after a game and see that it’s still full.
Other panelists included Evin Beck, associate athletics director for external relations; Monique Holland, senior associate athletics director for student-athlete experience; Samantha Cerio, gymnast and outgoing president of Auburn's Student Athlete Advisory Committee, and Patrick Starr, outgoing executive vice president of programs for SGA. Audience questions followed panel discussion.
Smith said keeping the section full was important and selling tickets as a season package was the best way to make sure that it was always filled. He said that if tickets were sold on an individual basis, students would only buy tickets for the few games they wanted to attend and wouldn’t attend the others, which isn’t how Auburn believes diminishes the student experience.
Smith said students cannot get refunds for tickets they return to the ticketing pool because when they purchase the package, they are expected to use those tickets for the whole season.
According to Smith, freshman students are the highest attendees, and their demand for tickets cannot be met. When tickets were sold as a full season to freshman, instead of a six-game package, only 1,000 students out of 4,000 that expressed interest were able to get tickets. Smith said the six-game package allowed that number to double the amount of freshman with tickets in their hands.
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