An asses in the seats plan that just might work.

Sometimes you see a new concept and have an immediate “why didn’t somebody think of that before” reaction.  Such is the case for me with Michigan’s 2014 student ticketing policy.  (h/t mgoblog)

The University of Michigan Athletic Department and the Central Student Government announced Tuesday (March 11) a new and improved student ticketing policy for Wolverine football games. The new policy will feature an attendance-driven reserved seating plan that will assign students reserved season seat locations based on attendance points accumulated during the previous season. Seating will no longer be first-come, first-served general admission.

Here are the goals of the policy:

Objectives of Attendance-Driven Reserved Seating Plan

·       Create a home field advantage by having students attend games and arrive 30 minutes prior to the start of the contest

·       Enhance students’ game day experience by allowing group seating; groups can be formed with a minimum of two (2) students and a maximum of 100 students.

The way it works is pretty simple.  This season is set as a baseline.

For the 2014 season, all student football season ticket holders will have reserved seats. The reserved seat locations will be based on a combination of 2013 attendance and class level. Following is the order of the seat location for the 2014 season:

  1. SuperFans – Returning students who attended at least five games on time during the 2013 football season (estimated close to 6,000 students; returning seniors/graduate school students among these 6,000 students will be seated in lowest rows)
  2. Returning Seniors/Graduate School Students
  3. Returning Juniors
  4. Returning Sophomores
  5. Returning Freshmen
  6. New incoming students (freshmen, transfers and graduate)

Students can form reserved seating groups (maximum of 100 members). In 2014, groups will be seated based on average class level in the group, with the exception of SuperFan groups consisting of all returning students who attended at least five (5) games on time in 2013. These groups will be seated with priority group #1 in the lowest rows.

Going forward is where it gets quite clever.

Starting with the 2015 season, all reserved seat locations will be decided strictly by attendance points. Attendance points are accumulated for each game attended (3 points). Arriving 30 minutes prior to kickoff earn an additional three (3) points, for a total of six (6) points. There will be no class standing-based perks or points starting with the 2015 football season. A group’s standing (and seat location) will be calculated by an average group score from the previous year’s point total.

Students can earn up to 36 points for the 2014 season, the equivalent of showing up to six (6) games at least 30 minutes prior to kickoff. Lochmann stated that the athletic department would only count six games instead of all seven, providing students with the benefit of the doubt for situations like holidays, student break, weather, etc., that can affect their attendance.

All attendance points will be tracked through scanned ticket data. Students will be seated by point totals, with the highest accumulated points at the front (maximum 36 points) and descending back to the top of the student section.

They’ve created a positive feedback loop that will net the most motivated students the best game access.  And the loop reboots annually.

There will be no carryover of points from season to season. The prior season’s point total will be used to determine the seat location for the upcoming year.

Yeah, there’s a little more work involved.  But given the result, it sure seems like it’s worth it.  Anybody down here paying attention?

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34 Comments

Filed under College Football

34 responses to “An asses in the seats plan that just might work.

  1. Wow, hats off to those involved in crafting that policy. Very well thought out. The only hole I can see is that there’s no reward for staying the whole game, you could be a “Superfan” and still leave at halftime every game. But certainly the odds are that if somebody is willing to show up 30 minutes early, they’re likely to be the type of fan that stays the whole game. Certainly the best plan I’ve seen to date.

    • FIFY

      “Superfans that stay for the entire game and do it for 5 games get two free hotdogs and two free cokes. Do it all home games and you get the conveted Super Duper Bulldog Fan t shirts. Available in your size. ;-)

  2. Clayton Bigsby

    The policy sounds all well and good. That is until they get beat by App St in the first home game.. :)

  3. Just Chuck (The Other One)

    We’ve had some pretty positive TV attention, not to mention an addition to the in stadium experience, from students in the front row with some pretty creative costumes and body paint. Like to see that continue. Any way that’s affected by a policy like this? Should it include any special consideration of groups like this? I’d like to see these folks continue to appear in the front row.

    • Debby Balcer

      They would qualify as super fans they are there as soon as the gates open. We come in then and they are there.

    • Russ

      If I got front row seats to a football game, I’d be pissed. If I’m a “superfan” I want something in the upper half of the lower section. Nothing to see from the front row except the bench.

  4. Bobby

    It’s got some holes. If you show up late in general admission your seats suck. If you show up late under this new policy your seats suck. Will be interesting to see if behavior will change. My guess is only on the margins.

    My dream policy would be all freshman who want get tickets. Based on that years attendance they can renew. All tickets not claimed due to eligibility go back into the general pool for the year. Want to get back in after you went to one game? Earn your way back into good standing via basketball, baseball, gymnastics, etc.

    • Q

      First paragraph is on.

      And why not give points for attending the spring game?

    • Debby Balcer

      Why give freshmen the best option. My graduate student was on the low end of terrorism like. Luckily for her we have tickets. She would get in the game with our ticket and go sit with her friends.

      • That’s a shame. My youngest graduates and will enter Georgia law and none of his undergrad time will count towards tickets. That’s one annoyed student. He is not impressed with the speed that they have moving towards changing that rule. I suggested he become more involved in the process. They are gonna have their hands full dealing with that young man.

        • Governor Milledge

          That was such a huge for grad students; go to grad school at UGA and be guaranteed basically any student ticket (SECCG, bowl game, away game) which the football team plays.

          I do think they gave the short end of the stick to grad students in wiping away those privileges, but it’ll be all uphill to regain them. I forget which former-football-player-turned grad student wrote an Op Ed for the R&B, but even that didn’t move the needle on changing the policy. Your kid basically needs to get involved with SGA and rally the other grad schools to get involved to even have a prayer

          • Governor Milledge

            Also, some of the North Campus changes a few years back really axed some additional law school advantages.

            Major Atlanta law firms would host tailgates with free kegs as a sort of recruiting measure; the corporate tailgate changes (requiring ropes, wrist bands, bouncers) killed this law school freebie. Getting to use the law school bathrooms on Gamedays were also big during the N Campus heyday

      • Bobby

        Not going to tackle the Graf student issue . Probably in need of an entirely separate approach. It’s not that freshman have the best option but rather the benefit of doubt to allow them to build some history. In my eyes a freshman would trump an upperclassman who isn’t showing up but would have lower priority than students who have attended regularly.

      • Debby Balcer

        Totem pole not terrorism autocorrect strikes again.

        • Macallanlover

          Autocorrect probably being politically correct about the “totem pole” reference. Probably would have offended someone and had you labeled a racist.

  5. section Z alum

    as someone who loved tailgating in front of the law school as long as possible, i would have loved the approach. would be nice to have seats regardless of getting to the game just in time for kickoff.

  6. Russ

    Well, those Big Televen guys always said they were smart. This looks like a smart plan to me.

  7. Debby Balcer

    It would reward kids who want to be there.

  8. watcher16

    I think LSU (or some school) does something similar, but students can also earn points by attending other sports as well, which serves to get attendance up at all events.

    • MGW

      Because true football fans that deserve the best tickets attend women’s softball games.

      • JRod1229

        You must be one of those non-alums who don’t realize there are other sporting events huh?

        • James

          His point might be: if you pay money for football tickets, which every student does, you shouldn’t be penalized just because you don’t want to go to a softball game, or even worse, because you can’t also afford tickets to basketball and hockey games.

  9. MGW

    Didn’t read the linked article, but from what you put in there, it sounds like you have to sit with a bunch of strangers now.

    • MGW

      Looked through the article. Looks like you can reserve groups of up to 100 ahead of time. Its a good thing college students are so renowned for planning ahead.

  10. MGW

    This is an asinine exercise in cat herding. College students are going to do what they will, and that’s all there is to it.

    Just do a damn lottery based on hours earned or whatever to see who gets how many tickets, make them transferable paper tickets and be done with it. Voila, everyone who used to not have attendance problems will again not have attendance problems.

    The fair mongers are more concerned about making sure the best and most rule following of students (who never have hangovers or something better to do than watch Georgia emasculate North Texas at noon) get tickets to every game, than they are about having the stadium full when LSU comes to town.

    Oh God, no! We’ve got body painting freshmen who want to make some noise for the Georgia Southern game, and a senior sold his ticket to his buddy so he could study for a test! Who will stand up for justice? Oh the humanity!

    • MGW

      I offered a senior $100 for his LSU ticket, but he sold it to someone else for $250! Now I can’t go! I’m a philosophy student, I shouldn’t have to learn about economics!

  11. SouthGaDawg

    McGarrity doesn’t like the idea. He’d have to pay an additional staff member to figure all this out…hey, can’t eat into that reserve fund, ya know…

  12. Spence

    The above comments make me realize that everyone is a f-ing critic with no solid ideas of their own. Congrats to UM for coming up with an innovative approach. Let’s let them be the lab rat and see if it works, then see if others want to adopt it. You know, free market and such.

    Honestly, there’s enough naysayers out there that it makes me ill.

    • Minnesota Dawg

      +1.

    • I realize MGW’s comment was extremely sarcastic, but lets be honest, he’s spouting common sense. Student attendance problems DRASTICALLY worsened when they got rid of paper tickets for students. Between friends visiting Athens, grad students, underclassmen and family members, there were always other young people looking to get into games, even the crappy ones. It’s easy to sell someone a paper ticket for $10 (or just give it to them) than it is to trust someone to return your student ID with the rest of your tickets on them.

      I’m sure that TV has something to do with it, but I have a hard time believing TV has more to do with the problem than the electronic ticket does.

      • Spence

        I entirely agree with everything you just wrote. But I still applaud Michigan for trying to find a solution.

  13. James

    While trying something never hurt, this is a pretty massive effort to treat a symptom, and I’m not sure it actually does that anyway. The problem with Michigan’s attendance issue is not that people who showed up early were not getting good seats — in fact there was already a perfect correlation as it’s general admin seating that fills up first come, first serve.

    Actually addressing the issue would mean admitting that the commoditized nostalgia schools have so brilliantly pushed to the limits on older alums isn’t resonating with a generation that doesn’t like to wait in long lines with poor cell signal for an experience that some feel isn’t necessarily superior to watching at home anyway.

    What’s really funny about this, though, is that it’s the way the student section looks on TV that is driving this effort in the first place.