OS Reviews: Penn State Football’s Lottery Ticketing System

At least the odds were better than the Powerball.

After Penn State Athletics rolled out a new lottery system for distributing football tickets this year, students were told Tuesday whether or not they received season tickets to see the Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium.

The new system, which randomly selects eligible students who enter the lottery, was met with mixed reviews. Whether they got tickets or not, our staffers aired out their thoughts on Penn State’s new ticketing strategy.

Michael Siroty: Got Tickets

When I heard the news of this new system being implemented, I was very upset. But to be honest, while it may simply be because I got lucky and was selected in the lottery, I kind of like it now. After I entered the lottery, I completely forgot when I was supposed to hear back, and that took away all of the stress. It’s Penn State football, and there’s no good way to deal out over 20,000 student tickets. While people who didn’t get tickets might disagree with me, it wasn’t so bad after all.

Abby Neely: Got Tickets

This new lottery system for the tickets is worse than the process it replaced. The new system allows those who don’t truly want tickets to go to games the ability to easily request them and receive them. At least the process before would weed out a few of those kinds of people because you had to wake up at the crack of dawn to have a shot. If you didn’t really want them, you weren’t waking up that early to get them. Already, with tickets just being distributed, I have seen so many people posting that they are selling their entire season tickets for two to three times what they paid for them. That, to me, says that those people only requested tickets to make money off of them, which ruins it for those who actually want to go to the games. Now, they have to fork over double or triple what they could’ve paid if they were selected.

CJ Gill: Got Tickets

The new lottery ticket system put in place this year by Penn State Athletics has been a disaster. The system punishes the passionate fan and under no circumstance does anyone need a week to request tickets. Put all of that aside for a discussion another day. This week, which was designated as the week that students would receive word if they got tickets, hasn’t been a success either. The only communication sent out by Athletics was a short email about this week, and there were very few directions in the email at all.

Everyone expected an email as the way to be notified but in most cases, people began to realize they were getting tickets through a bank charge notification. However, the big problem was these charges came in bunches, leaving students in a panic and many (including me) to believe they were not getting tickets this year. It wasn’t initial hours later of random bank charges that an email was sent out confirming who got chosen in the lottery. From the outside looking in Penn State took a system that was already flawed and somehow made it way worse. There was very little direction through the entire process and students had very little power in it either. Just look at social media, I don’t think a year ago anyone would have been asking to be back in a Ticketmaster queue. But here we are.

Noah Flenard: Got Tickets

I was able to get tickets this year for the third year in a row! This new process was very confusing initially but since I got them, I can’t really complain. Overall, I believe the lottery system gives every student an equal chance of securing a ticket. Getting the tickets this year felt like an early birthday present from Penn State. Thank you, PSU, for allowing me to go 3/3.

Keeley Lamm: Got Tickets

I beat the final boss and secured student football tickets all four years. Suck on that, Penn State Athletics.

Ryan Smith: Got Tickets

For any Penn State student, the football ticket lottery can feel like The Hunger Games. However this time, you are praying your name gets chosen. This year, I entered the lottery with low expectations and more stress than usual. The history of the Penn State ticket lottery hasn’t been pleasant in recent years, and many students, myself included, feel it’s gotten worse with recent changes.

What I miss most about the old lottery system was the feeling that at least some of my chances were in my hands. Last year, as a freshman, I woke up at 6 a.m. and logged into eight different devices, trying to gain even a slight edge over the other 10,000 incoming freshmen at Penn State. This year, I casually woke up at a reasonable time and pressed one button.

After the waiting game, I was lucky enough to be chosen by the football gods to have season tickets. However, I know I would have been devastated if I wasn’t one of the students selected. If it were up to me, I would have the true fans out in front of Beaver Stadium camping out to get tickets for the season.

I understand that this is what Penn State Athletics deems to be fair, but it’s frustrating to see casual fans selling tickets for over a thousand dollars and knowing that my best friends, who didn’t get tickets, are missing out on something they love so much. The current system needs change, and I hope come season time, there won’t be a large number of un-attendance in the student section stands.

Jess Farhat: Got Tickets

As someone who didn’t get tickets last year because of the Ticketmaster queue, I was curious to see how this year would play out. Honestly, I almost forgot about the tickets in general and ended up putting in my request late Thursday evening. As the week went on, my friends kept expressing how nervous they were about not getting them. I kept my expectations low because I wasn’t sure what would happen. I saw that many people wanted to go back to the old way but I really enjoyed how it was done this year. It felt more relaxed and I didn’t have to wake up early to set up every computer screen in my house.  Thankfully, I got the tickets and am so excited to be back in Beaver Stadium this fall!

Evan Halfen: Got Tickets

Personally, I think it was time for a change when it comes to securing football tickets. However, I think changing it into a completely randomized system was a step in the wrong direction. The fact that not all seniors are guaranteed tickets is just disappointing and plain wrong. On the other hand, now all students get an equal shot, however, what’s fair about freshmen having the same advantage for season tickets as seniors? Hopefully, in the coming years, Penn State will find a better way to ensure tickets to students experiencing their very last football games.

Ally Eaton: Got Tickets

I fear that my review of the new ticketing system is one quite like the rest of these responses. Although I did make it out of the bloodbath successfully (2/2 years on my success so far), I can’t say it was without stress and annoyance.

The new system annoyed me long before it even took place. I’ve had my fair share of struggles with Ticketmaster before, but I don’t think doing away with the whole process there made things any easier. Allowing students A WEEK to request tickets took away the thrill of waking up at the crack of dawn to see if you would be one of the chosen ones that student tickets were bestowed upon. Quite frankly, if you need a whole week to determine if you want student tickets, you shouldn’t get them. The week-long window only allowed for more students who would end up reselling to enter the pool. If you’re going to be a jerk and resell for triple the price, you should at least have to get up at 6:30 a.m. for it.

Nevertheless, I got up at 8 a.m. on the morning my window opened and requested. Since then, I have been playing the waiting game until the morning of June 25. I woke up to discover a $246 pending charge on my account. I was reluctant, thinking they were just verifying cards, and did not want to get my hopes up. Many others shared my reluctance, but some placed all of their hopes in the pending charge. I feel as if Penn State Athletics could have explained this part of the process better. In the hours that followed more people’s charges rolled in in waves, even after they initially thought they were unlucky. I feel that the confusion and chaos that ensued while we waited for an official confirmation email was worse than the Ticketmaster way, especially for those answering and fielding the thousands of customer service calls that must have been coming in. There just has to be a better way.

I acknowledge that I can’t hate on this process too much, because I, along with all of my friends except for one, made it out alive and are thrilled for another season of Penn State football in front of us. However, there has to be a better way to eliminate confusion and aware students who attend games and are not just looking to resell for their own good. Rant over.

Luke Pieczynski: Got Tickets

So, let me start off by saying that I was chosen in the lottery for my student tickets, so, take this with a grain of salt I guess.

There’s been a lot of talk about whether this new system is truly for the better and whether or not the most “committed” students will actually be the ones to receive tickets and show up for the games. Last year, and during the final year of the Ticketmaster everyone-all-at-once-style queue system, I was up a full hour and a half before my window, Ticketmaster open on my computer, ready to click the button when the queue opened for sophomore students. At that moment, my internet dropped my connection to the page, and, to my horror, the page was refreshed and I was sent to the very back of the queue. I didn’t get my student tickets that year, and I ended up purchasing one of my friend’s student ticket packages for an upcharge so I could be in the student section. I went to just about every game, and yes, including the one against Rutgers when everyone else was fleeing State College to make it back for Thanksgiving break.

So, I like the system. I don’t really know how much more of a “committed” “fan” you have to be, but I really tried my sophomore year and still came up short. Everyone complained about the Ticketmaster queue a year ago, and hell, Ticketmaster was even dragged before Congress to talk about the fiasco with Eras Tour tickets and its similar queue-style system as Penn State used to use. Now, as Athletics has changed the system, my replies on Twitter and Facebook are still full of plenty of complaining, and I don’t really know what the alternative there was for Athletics. Had I not gotten tickets, I’m sure I’d feel differently, but the resale economy is still going to be alive and well, and I think this is still a vast improvement over the huge luck of the draw, “the Ticketmaster gods pick who they want”-style of the last system. There was a week-long window to enter, and all you really had to do was update your payment information and you were on your way. There wasn’t any more sweating, or panic-inducing rushing well before the sun came up to click a button on your computer. It can’t get much easier than that.

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