Minnesota considers electronic tickets

Similar to other Big Ten schools, the University may put student tickets on U Cards.

Nickalas Tabbert

Student tickets are going paperless at some Big Ten schools, and the University of Minnesota may not be far behind.

Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State and Nebraska are among the schools that have eliminated printed student tickets in favor of electronic tickets that are stored on students’ ID cards.

Minnesota is also considering going electronic, said associate athletics director Jason LaFrenz.

LaFrenz said he didn’t know if the switch is likely to occur or if it would be cost-saving, but he said the University is researching the necessary requirements.

He said the University should be ready to make a more formalized decision by January or February of next year.

Currently, students pick up their football and basketball season tickets at Mariucci Arena using their student ID. Each student is given a season pass that has all of the games loaded onto a barcode, LaFrenz said. Each season pass has the student’s name and customer number on it.

Students previously received a ticket for each home game, said junior Lukas Peterson, a season-ticket holder for three seasons.

LaFrenz said the University’s athletics department is considering an athletics card used solely for sporting events.

A student would load up his or her card with tickets and then use it to attend sporting events, LaFrenz said.

Nebraska began using electronic tickets for football games this fall.

So far, the process of teaching students to use their IDs instead of printed tickets has gone smoothly, said Jesse Genrich, a spokesman for Nebraska’s ticket office.

At Nebraska, students can transfer their tickets online to other full-time students and non-students, Genrich said.

Students at Minnesota have the option to email their tickets to someone else, LaFrenz said.

Iowa is using electronic tickets for basketball this season and may expand to include football as early as next year, an athletics spokesperson said.

Brett Scarbrough, assistant athletics director at Ohio State, said the school will likely use electronic tickets on student ID cards when basketball season starts in a few weeks.

Scarbrough said the biggest challenges in implementing the system have been collaborating with its software provider to scan student IDs, since some are encoded two different ways.

Like other Big Ten schools, Scarbrough said Ohio State may expand electronic tickets to include football.

The challenge for the Buckeyes, though, is that students sit behind both end zones at Ohio Stadium and enter through multiple gates.

Michigan switched to electronic tickets for men’s basketball and hockey in part because of convenience.

The switch has reduced paper costs, and students have arrived earlier to games, according to an email from an athletics spokesperson at Michigan.

At previous Gophers football games, students have been able to use other students’ U Cards to get into football games, Peterson said.

Under the electronic system, that would become much more difficult, he said.

Having electronic tickets would help track attendance, Peterson said. It would also be convenient for students since they already show their U Cards when entering TCF Bank Stadium.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” he said.