Full Red Zone causes headaches

Oct. 21, 2011, 3:04 a.m.

The new online football ticket reservation system has resulted in rushes to secure tickets and long standby lines at the stadium come game day, according to Athletics Marketing Associate Kevin Aha.

This change came as a result of increasing interest in Stanford football, as student attendance is estimated to be at the highest it has reached in recent history, Aha said.

The high attendance is due, in part, to the new Red Zone ticket system in which students must reserve tickets prior to game day, according to Aha, who managed most of the new program.

“Average attendance will be higher than any year in recent history,” Aha said. “The demand is a function of campus recognition of how special this team is, and the ticketing system is more a function of that demand.”

Aha reported that for the Oct. 1 UCLA game, 47 percent of undergraduate students and 17 percent of graduate students scanned into the stadium. For the Oct. 8 Colorado game, 50.1 percent of undergraduate students and 12.84 percent of graduate students scanned in.

At the beginning of the school year, the Red Zone sent out an email with an instructional video announcing the new procedure, showing step by step how to claim a ticket. The video and Red Zone website instructed students to log in to their Red Zone accounts on GoStanford.com and reserve a ticket, which would be loaded onto their student ID cards. Students receive a predetermined number of Red Zone Loyalty Points for scanning into each home game and select other sporting events.

However, the Red Zone website has crashed several times when tickets have been released, frustrating students trying to use the service. Tyler White ’13 attended both games so far, but only had a reserved ticket for the Colorado game.

“If you look at the people having to stake out at 9 p.m. or 5 p.m. and sit by their computers and refresh incessantly, just hoping to get their hands on one ticket, then every single time there always ends up being people who want to go who can’t go,” White said.

According to the site, tickets to the games against Oregon and Berkeley will be released based on the number of Red Zone Loyalty Points students have.

“The more points you have, the earlier in the week you can get the tickets,” Aha said. “We’re not sure where that [number] will fall yet.”

The ticket claiming process originally began on the Tuesday prior to a Saturday home game at 5 p.m.

In the first implementation for the Oct. 1 game against UCLA, tickets for the event sold out within five hours after they were released, Aha said.

Aha received feedback from students that the 5 p.m. ticket release conflicted with athletics and academics, effectively “freezing them out” from claiming tickets later in the evening. He changed the release time to 9 p.m. for all subsequent games.

Tickets for the Oct. 8 Colorado game “lasted until about noon the next day,” Aha said. And Red Zone tickets for Saturday’s game against Washington sold out by 10 a.m. Wednesday morning, after being available for 13 hours, Aha wrote in an email to The Daily.

Annika Grangaard ’12 currently participates in Gaieties, a group for which rehearsals run from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Tuesdays.

“At 9 p.m., rehearsal literally stops so people can get their tickets,” she said.

Students who do not claim a ticket beforehand have the option to wait in a standby line at Gate 3 of Stanford Stadium prior to kickoff. After kickoff, students are let in depending on the number of unclaimed reserved student seats.

For the UCLA game, Aha said, “everyone who came to the game, regardless of whether or not you got a ticket in advance or you were in the standby line, everyone got in [sic].” This was true for the Colorado game as well, Aha said.

White said his opinion of the new policy changed with knowledge of this information, but said he “[thinks] that there should be a better way for a Stanford student to be able to go to a Stanford football game.”

“The fact of the matter is that if you go and wait in the standby line, you don’t get admitted until 10, 15 minutes in and you end up automatically getting the worst seats in the stadium,” he said. “I don’t think I would ever desire to plan my day around standing in standby line when all my friends are able to get in with tickets.”

The size of Stanford Stadium is the main limitation for letting in students, Aha said.

“Capacity and safety issues are limiting factors in terms of the sections we make available,” Aha said. “We want to get as many students as we can in the game while also prioritizing safety and our capacity restrictions.”

To accommodate the increased interest and attendance among students, the Red Zone sections in Stanford Stadium have been expanded, Aha said. The Red Zone now stretches from section 111 through 102.

Grangaard “has noticed that the Red Zone is a lot fuller,” and has a lot more spirit. “More people stay for the whole game instead of leaving after a little while,” she said.

“Student attendance has gotten a lot better since when I got here,” said defensive tackle Terence Stephens ’13. “It’s good to see–it’s kind of a culture change to see people wanting to attend football games and wanting to support their team.”

Stephens commented that the team does notice student fans from the sidelines and from the field.

“It’s definitely inspirational to see support from the student body,” Stephens said.


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