Ticketing glitch oversells student section for Penn State-Michigan game

mdawson@centredaily.comOctober 8, 2013 

Hundreds of Penn State students volunteered Tuesday to trade their seats in the raucous student section during this weekend’s game against Michigan in exchange for a spot higher up in Beaver Stadium and a big discount on season tickets next year.

The swap was the result of a snafu that happened this summer during the student season ticket sale and saw Penn State sell 1,100 more tickets than there were seats in the stadium.

Student season ticket holders were notified by email Monday night about the issue and were offered a seat in the south end zone upper deck as well as other incentives to sweeten the pot: a 50 percent discount on next year’s season tickets or homecoming tickets in 2014, a $200 donation to the dance marathon, or on-field access to one of the next three games this season.

It worked.

By 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, enough students had agreed to take an upper deck seats that the problem had been resolved, and athletics spokesman Jeff Nelson said most students chose the 50 percent discount incentive.

The ticket problem was created over the summer, when some freshman students were prevented from buying tickets because of an error during the online sale on Ticketmaster.com, Nelson said. A message to Ticketmaster’s parent company, Live Nation, was not returned.

As a result, Penn State had an additional sale, but the university over-calculated the number of seats that would be available and sold more tickets than seats.

That has created the possibility of overbooking the student section for each game this season, but it ended up not being a problem for the home games against Eastern Michigan, Central Florida and Kent State, Nelson said. The university was able to provide students with other seating.

But that probably would not be the case for the Michigan game, Nelson said, citing intense interest in the game and homecoming festivities.

Nelson isn’t sure if the ticket problem will be a factor for any of the home games beyond the Michigan game, but he said athletics officials are going to monitor the trend.

In additional to the seat in the upper deck, students who make the switch will get a $10 credit on their LionCash account and an official Penn State “white-out” T-shirt.

Penn State (3-2) takes on Michigan (5-0) at 5 p.m. The game will air on ESPN.

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