By Sarah Watson
At the Iowa-Wyoming game on Sept. 2, students filled the stands in black and gold apparel, ready to celebrate a Hawkeye win. This time, instead of stowing paper tickets in their wallets, students simply shut off their phones and enjoyed the game.
The University of Iowa ticket office transitioned this season to new mobile student tickets, following the lead of other Big Ten schools. The office sent students the tickets as a PDF attachment via email, and students downloaded or screenshot the attachment so ticket takers could scan it, allowing them into the game.
For UI junior Samantha Chinick, the process was not as convenient as she hoped.
“My dad ordered them about two weeks before the first game, and so I got all the reminders, but I never received the email saying, ‘Oh, your tickets are attached,’ and I was like, ‘Hmm, that’s weird,’ ” Chinick said. “So I was going to the first game with [my friend], and I’m looking through my email, and she’s looking through my email, and we couldn’t find them.”
In the end, Chinick was able to enter the game when she showed the ticket office her email receipts, but she said it was stressful, and she worried she wouldn’t be able to get in.
A few days later, after communicating with the ticket office, she finally was able to get the rest of her tickets for the season.
Chinick said she thinks the ticket office should return to the original way of distributing tickets. In years past, the office has had students pick up their paper tickets at the IMU.
However, some students, such as sophomore Clare Willey, think the new mobile tickets are a step in the right direction.
“It’s so much easier to access tickets because you get emailed the tickets so you have it in PDF form, all you have to do is download it on your phone,” Willey said. “It was a lot easier than going to an office between certain times on these certain days and wait. I know the lines were crazy long last year.”
Hogan encourages students to give feedback to the system by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We’re hoping it will be a convenience for students,” said Sara Hogan, the assistant manager of ticket operations. “Students are the most tech-savvy group that purchase tickets, and having it on their mobile phones would give them one fewer thing to carry.”
In an email sent to students who purchased tickets, the ticket office warned students to bring their phone to the game fully charged with their tickets downloaded.
Hogan said the office will not replace student tickets if their phone dies or the ticket cannot load.
“This is the same with paper tickets,” Hogan said. “If a student forgets his or her paper ticket at home, we would not replace it.”
She also said students could print out a paper copy instead or as an extra precaution.
Even though the tickets are easily transferable, Hogan said, the tickets are also protected against fraud. Each ticket has its own unique QR code and will become inactive once it’s scanned.
For the future, Hogan said the office is looking at transitioning men’s basketball student tickets to using mobile tickets similar to the ones used at the football game.
“We think the new mobile tickets are a sign of the times,” Assistant Athletics Director Pamela Finke said. “We know that students don’t hardly go anywhere without their phones.”