UF to improve ticket system


Published: Tuesday, January 8, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 8, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.

With University of Florida students grousing about the time and energy they waste trying to secure tickets to UF athletic events, the University Athletic Association is looking for the best company to customize a Web site that will streamline student ticket distribution.

UF Student Sen. Jordan Johnson said the UAA has narrowed its choices to a few companies, but has been looking specifically at the University of Oklahoma's universal ticket Web site.

Kenny Mossman, associate athletic director at Oklahoma, said OU incorporated student ticket sales on the universal ticket Web site in 2004.

"We decided a system like this would be necessary for our students and we realized it was a market trend," Mossman said in a phone interview from Norman, Okla.

Mossman said OU uses Paciolan, a ticket service and software provider that offers ticketing, fund-raising and marketing technology solutions and has had a good relationship with the company.

Paciolan provides service for Florida State University, Louisiana State University, University of Southern California and others.

According to Mossman, the process of implementing the universal ticket Web site at Oklahoma took about three months.

He said at first students were apprehensive about the new system, but over the years they have "learned to love it."

"Early on there were some bugs, but once we moved past that, our students were happy," Mossman said. "There is no more camping out overnight for student tickets."

Christian Pierre-Paul, a third-year dental student at OU and former Gator, said he far prefers the online ticketing system at Oklahoma to the system at UF.

"My experience with getting tickets at UF sucked," Pierre-Paul said. "Since I have been at OU, and it has been two years, I have gotten a set of season tickets and I got to go to four home games my first year here, which would have never happened at UF."

Pierre-Paul said he was "lost and confused" when it came to ordering tickets at UF. He said he believes OU's online universal ticketing system makes ordering tickets a lot simpler.

Johnson, who represents District B in the UF Student Senate, also chairs the Senate's UAA ticket distribution committee. At a recent meeting, ideas were discussed and Johnson said the UAA has been open and cooperative.

"A lot of students aren't happy that they don't get tickets," Johnson said. "In fact, a lot of students get frustrated because there are different ways to get tickets for different sports events and it's just confusing."

Johnson said the change isn't because the system is horrible, but that it can be improved using modern technology.

"Our students would appreciate having an online universal system that allows them to go to one place to receive all ticketing information," Johnson said. "A system like the one in place now may have worked five to 10 years ago when we didn't have as many students, but it's not going to continue to be beneficial for the future."

Pierre-Paul said he believes that UF's system is outdated and that students would thrilled to be able to shorten the amount of time it takes to enter the lottery by phone.

"It is a little ridiculous how I used to have to call every Thursday for home-game tickets," he said. "Getting tickets to games (at OU) is simple and easy and UF students can have it as easy as a click away."

Johnson said the funding and final decisions on the online operating system will be made by the UAA. At this time, the expense of such a service is variable and cannot be determined until a company is chosen.

Johnson said the Gator Athletic Ticket Order Request System, known as G.A.T.O.R.S., will remain in place even when the online system is implemented, allowing students to choose how they order tickets.

"A new ticket-ordering system will be satisfying because it will eliminate confusion about ordering tickets and give students a better chance at getting results rather than using the G.A.T.O.R.S. phone system alone," Johnson said.

Johnson said even with online ticketing, a lottery system will remain in place for bigger sporting events at UF, like football and basketball.

Johnson said the process is complicated and the UAA is working hard to find the right company that will provide a superior service to the one that UF is now using.

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