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College Football Student Tickets Come In All Shapes And Sizes

We’ve spent this week analyzing how different schools around the country handle their student tickets. From Oregon’s outrageous $292 package to Clemson’s completely free tickets to Minnesota’s nine options for students to choose from, we’ve seen how different student tickets are across the country.

Today, we look at some of the interesting offerings at other universities that are in contrast to Penn State’s simple, flat prices as we try to get a better understanding of what the most student-friendly deals look like.

Early Bird Specials

Both Washington and UCLA sell their football and basketball tickets bundled. And both offer discounts to students who buy their tickets early. Washington sells its season passes for $135 in May and raises the price to $150 in June. UCLA issues a similar price hike; the Den Pass is $149 until July 1, when it increases to $169.

Penn State football tickets are too in-demand among students for this system to work. However, it’s interesting to consider how other universities attempt to incentivize students to buy tickets with special offers…meanwhile Penn State knows its students would be willing to pay just about any price and to go to extremes to buy season tickets. We’d be lying if we said we didn’t sweat a little leading up to 7 a.m. this week.

Rewards Programs

As we explained earlier in the week, Florida State distributes general admission student tickets through a rewards system. Students earn points over time and by attending other sporting events and engaging with the athletic department online. The bigger games require more points for students to attend, so the system favors upperclassmen and the most dedicated fans.

The main issue with a lot of the strategies other universities use to sell tickets and that we’ve looked at this week is how demanded Penn State’s tickets are. A rewards program, though overly complicated, might be the best way to make tickets either “free.” It would motivate students to support other less-attended sports while still keeping them invested in the football games, unlike what Clemson has experienced as of late.

Digital Tickets

Mobile tickets are the new ~in~ thing. They’re available at Oklahoma, Florida State, Pitt, Florida, Louisville, Cincinnati, and South Florida, among others. Even the College Football Playoff began using mobile tickets to control counterfeiting.

In the short term, mobile tickets don’t make much sense for Penn State. Aside from mobile tickets being more of a novelty than a utility, cell phones and Saturdays at Beaver Stadium don’t exactly jive.

How many times have you not been able to find your friend outside of Gate A minutes before kickoff because the cell service is too poor for you to make a call? Similarly, how many times have you either not been able to post a Snapchat story from the game because your phone died after a full day of tailgating?

But in the long run, digital tickets are the future. There will likely be a Penn State one day where ID cards are replaced by a digital wallet. Perhaps LionCash will be in cryptocurrency. Or maybe the Pollock Testing Center, dining halls, and Gate A will process everything through fingerprints (good luck reselling your tickets to a friend and lending him or her your ID then).

Claiming Your Tickets Every Week

No, thanks. One panic-filled 7 a.m. per year is enough for me.


This post is part of a five-part series on student football tickets around the country. Check in tomorrow for the finale to our series: a review of how students have worked to change the policies at their universities and how change is always possible.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article stated Penn State doesn’t offer a discount for recent graduates. The university does, and we apologize for this error.

About the Author

Anthony Colucci

Anthony Colucci is Onward State’s Social Media Manager, a preferred walk-on honors student, and a junior majoring in psychology and public relations. Despite being from the make-believe land of Central Jersey, he was never a Rutgers fan. If you ever want to know how good Saquon Barkley's ball security is, ask Anthony what happened when he tried to force a fumble at the Mifflin Streak. Feel free to follow @_anthonycolucci on Twitter and email him at [email protected] to hear the story or if you’re bored and want to chat.


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