Stop capitalizing off the Big Ticket

Emma Vrana, Columnist

Overselling can be a smart and effective business move when done on a small scale. But a university overselling football games by 5,000 student tickets is neither effective nor ethical.

UT recently accepted its largest freshman class to date, yet no noticeable expansion of the student section has been made. For years, students who have purchased the Big Ticket have been turned away from games because there were no remaining student section seats, the section the Big Ticket is for. 

A Daily Texan article from 2019 mentions how student safety is put at risk when they oversell the Big Ticket. This article goes on to mention the specifics of capacity versus ticket sales. 

“According to John Bianco, the associate communications director of intercollegiate athletics, 18,000 Big Tickets have been sold for the 2019-2020 school year even though only 13,000 seats are allocated for the student section,” the article said.

For our big games, I find it impossible that staff do not believe a majority of the 18,000 Big Ticket holders would attend. 

Advertising sophomore Sophia Lowe mentioned the troubles she had at the latest UT vs. Rice football game. 

“We went up to…the gate” Lowe said, “They told us there’s no more wristbands … they turned us away, and (said), ‘Sorry, we don’t know what to do, the school oversold Big Tickets.’”

Lowe was denied entry into the student section by event staff. She spoke about how disappointing this was, and mentioned she and her friends weren’t the only people turned away. 

“We paid so much for these tickets, expecting obviously for everything to go smoothly,” Lowe said, “There was a huge crowd of people (denied entry) too.”

Drew Martin, executive senior associate athletics director, denied any knowledge of students being turned away.

“We’ve never turned a student with a Big Ticket away from a football game,” Martin said.

This doesn’t seem to be a widespread problem throughout the stadium. These issues seem to only be pertaining to students, which reflects poorly on UT’s priorities. When I asked if overselling has ever happened with the Big Ticket, Martin mentioned something concerning. 

“The Big Ticket is not a guaranteed seat,” Martin said, “And it says that on the website.”

Hearing this is most likely puzzling for students because this piece of information is very hard to find. I’m sure students wouldn’t have bothered to spend so much money if they knew they weren’t guaranteed admission. 

To sell this ticket with very few advertisements about this condition is extremely unethical. 

On the Big Ticket website, it mentions under “Seating and Safety” that “general admission seating means first come, first served at each event. The earlier you get to an event, the better your seat.” 

This is very ambiguous, but it is unclear if this is what Martin is referring to. 

UT doesn’t seem to care about the student experience at football games, but more importantly, this overselling is unethical. $175 plus tax for the Big Ticket isn’t just an easy credit card swipe for many students. 

The University needs to make some expansion to our student section, staff and officials need to communicate better, or the overselling needs to stop. UT, let’s make a change.

Vrana is a Journalism sophomore from Austin, Texas