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Penn State Football’s Student Ticket Lottery System Hurts Committed Fans

Penn State Athletics’ already frustrating student ticket system just got worse.

Yesterday, Penn State Athletics announced for the 2024 football season, it will update the system used to sell student football ticket packages to now implement a random lottery.

Under the new system, all students will be given an equal chance at student tickets. Under the old system, tickets were sold by grade on a first-come, first-served basis in which tickets typically sold out in under 20 minutes.

Now, students in each grade will have a one-week window to “request” tickets, after which students will be chosen at random whether or not they receive a ticket package for the season. This process will no longer be done through Ticketmaster, but rather the Penn State Student Account Manager.

I believe this new system is a step in the wrong direction.

Don’t get me wrong, there were numerous flaws with the old Ticketmaster system. The old system was prone to crashing, oftentimes leading to students getting unfairly kicked out of the queue and likely losing their shot at getting tickets. It wasn’t great, so it’s understandable why Penn State Athletics decided to make a change.

However, this change is fundamentally wrong. The goal of student ticket sales should be for the most committed fans to get tickets. This packs Beaver Stadium with students who truly want to be at every game, even a noon kickoff against Rutgers over Thanksgiving break. It also decreases the chances of students selling their tickets on the secondary market for exorbitant prices.

The old system stunk, but at the very least, those who did get tickets were students who cared enough to get up early, refresh their Ticketmasters, and pay as quickly as possible. Students who didn’t care as much overslept, waited to log in to Ticketmaster until the sale started, or just relied on buying tickets on the secondary market.

Now, students who don’t care as much have a full week to enter the lottery and an equal chance of receiving tickets. “Equal opportunity” is usually a good thing, but in this case, I think that students who really want tickets should have the opportunity to get up early and make a special effort to get them.

The lottery system likely encourages even more students to throw their hat in the ring than before. There was already more demand than there were tickets, and this makes the problem worse.

Only time will tell if this is true, but the new procedure will likely lead to even more price gouging on the secondary market. Students who only really want to go to the White Out will enter the lottery, luck into tickets, and then sell the rest on the secondary market for double or triple face value depending on the game.

I think an easy solution to the problem would be to change the way that tickets can be resold. I propose that if a student doesn’t want some of their tickets, they are required to resell the ticket back to Penn State Athletics who will then resell the ticket at face value.

This system would discourage students from buying a full season’s worth of tickets if they only want to go to one or two games and would prevent students from abusing the system to sell their tickets for a profit.

Another flaw in the system is the fact that Penn State students who attend branch campuses will have an equal chance at getting tickets as students at University Park. I’m sure students at branch campuses will disagree with me, but I believe the students who pay extra tuition to go to University Park should have a better chance of getting tickets than a student who lives three-plus hours from Beaver Stadium.

I don’t think there’s a perfect solution to Penn State’s student ticket problem. There is more demand than there are tickets, so any system will leave a portion of students without tickets they badly want.

However, despite its flaws, at least the Ticketmaster process partially favored those who had a special hunger for tickets. Those who wanted to be in Beaver Stadium for every game had to make a specific effort to get those tickets.

The new system boasts “equality,” but I don’t think this is a system that should be equal. There’s a reason basketball schools like Duke and UConn make their students camp outside the arena for days if they want to get in. You want in? You have to work for it.

June 24 will showcase how successful or not the lottery system will be, but I wouldn’t be shocked if a lot of devoted fans are left empty-handed and demanding change once again for the 2025 season.

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About the Author

Mikey DeAngelis

Mikey DeAngelis is a junior majoring in film production who is also serving as one of Onward State's visual editors. During his free time, he enjoys making content for his YouTube channel. Mikey loves Philly sports, traveling and hiking in National Parks, and watching movies. To reach Mikey, feel free to reach out on Twitter (@mikey_deangelis) or by email ([email protected]).

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