Notre Dame makes upgrades to technology at ticketing office

The University of Notre Dame in the US state of Indiana has made several upgrades to its ticketing offering at its Notre Dame Stadium, primarily involving new technology.

Changes include eight new pricing tiers, a change to the lottery system, the dropping of the resale policy, the installation of new seating, a new ticket design, as well a new gold card for season ticket members.

Notre Dame vice-president and athletic director Jack Swarbrick wanted to modernise the ticketing experience for fans, according to Rob Kelly, associate athletics director for ticketing, premium and technology.

“As recently as five years ago we were not accepting credit cards for ticket purchases. Football ticket applications were a paper Scantron form,” Kelly said.

“You had no input into your seat location or price point. You got what you got. Everybody who participated in the ticket lottery paid up front, and we held onto their money for two or three months and refunded it if they didn’t get tickets.

“Modernisation of the process has moved us toward the ability to customise the ticket experience using digital platforms, as well as enhancing value through other benefits and amenities, including the ability to choose from seat prices and locations.

“We’ve gone from one tier – one bench ticket price in the bowl – to having eight ticket prices in the upper and lower stadium bowl. Plus, we’ve added entirely new experiences to enjoy football game day.”

Notre Dame’s ticketing office partner, Experience, has helped develop a mobile app, My Notre Dame Tickets, for iOS and Android that will enable ticket holders to purchase seat upgrades and unique in-game experiences, as well as allowing season ticket holders to transfer, donate and present their tickets for entry to the event.

Season ticket holders will still receive their hard tickets, but will also have the option of dealing with their tickets electronically.

“We’ve been scanning student ticket barcodes for three years, so we’re ready to do this. This is the next step. And while the app is only available this year to season-ticket members, eventually we expect that everybody in the stadium will have the ability to work with their tickets on a digital basis.

“We’re providing the convenience of the digital aspect with the nostalgia of the souvenir hard ticket design.”

In addition, the new pricing options include lower prices in the end zones and will increase along the sidelines, while price changes in the bowl are revenue-neutral.

“Seating has decreased overall, from 80,795 to approximately 78,000,” Kelly said.

“That 78,000 figure includes 4,000 seats in the premium and corporate hospitality spaces. The weighted-average increase in prices in the bowl is about three per cent to make up for the loss of seating. Despite this, just over half – 51 per cent – of the tickets in the bowl stayed the same or decreased in price.”

Notre Dame previously held a resale policy that prevented ticket holders from selling tickets for more than face value. Now, through the university’s partnership with secondary marketplace Vivid Seats, fans can now resell tickets for all athletics events.

The 84,000-capacity Notre Dame Stadium has also updated its seating offering, providing the semi-private seating areas in Duncan Student Center and Corbett Family Hall with loge seating, which consists of chairs with casters and counter-style tables. Additionally, outdoor club-level seating is available and offers cushioned seats with armrests under an outdoor heated overhang.

“Previously, we had only one thing to offer – splintered wood seats,” Kelly said. “When fans arrive at the stadium this fall, the old wooden bench seats will have changed to new composite vinyl over galvanised steel benches.

“The new style was already in use in the upper bowl last season. Two additional inches of seating space have been added to each of the seats in the lower bowl – the seats (formerly 16 inches wide) now average 18 inches in width. Seats in the “preferred” seating areas, along the sidelines, are dark blue padded seats with armrests.”

Image: Daniel Hinton