Refresh … Refresh … Is this thing working? Did I lose my spot in line? Is it time yet? Will I be able to go to ANY football games this year? What if I don’t get tickets?! What has the world come to?!
This is a scenario that I, and I’m sure many other Oregon students and fans are familiar with. The process that a University of Oregon student must go through to secure season tickets is an incredibly stressful endeavor. One that we will all find ourselves smack dab in the middle of this coming Sunday, August 17th at 6 p.m.
On one hand, it’s exciting! The possibility of guaranteeing tickets to every single home game is a must for many Oregon students. But on the other, the event is worrisome because it is such a high stakes operation. There are only 1000 season tickets on sale, and they sell out within minutes. It goes to show how dedicated a fan base the Ducks have. What’s more, there are many factors working against us. The quality of the Wi-Fi connection, hand-eye coordination, dexterity with mouse or trackpad, patience, ability to remain calm in high pressure situations and, of course, luck.
If you are unfortunate enough to lose out on student season tickets, you could very well be doomed. Not getting them means that every single week, you must enter the battlefield against thousands of other football-hungry Duck fans, putting your dignity on the line to try and snag a ticket through the dreaded student ticket lottery.
Nobody wants to be the guy who “couldn’t get a ticket that week” or “was too late to login to his account.” You end up looking like a total chump, and worst of all … you don’t get to bask in the glory of Autzen and the mighty Ducks.
Due to the Ducks recent success, student season tickets this year are pretty expensive. A ticket to all home games will run you $367, but I guess that’s the price you pay with a football team as good as ours. My freshman year of college (I’m now a senior) season tickets were $275. After two BCS Bowl wins in 2012 and 2013 and multiple 10+ win seasons, it doesn’t come as a surprise that ticket costs have risen.
But for those who don’t end up getting tickets, I have always felt sympathy. A lot of my friends are die-hard Duck fans. Some of them don’t have enough money to splurge on season tickets and others have lost out in the online extravaganza. These poor souls are then forced to watch the game from home. The horror!
The fortunate ones get to Autzen and sometimes encounter a subset of students who are clearly not there for the game, but just for the spectacle. These are the fans who scream their hearts out and then turn to their friends after the Ducks score a touchdown to ask, “Wait, what just happened?” – completely oblivious to the actual game. Then some of those same students end up leaving at halftime because the Ducks are up big, or because they just don’t care enough to see the whole game through.
My feeling has always been that if single game lottery tickets were sold for $10 per game, it would weed out the majority of those fans, and clear up spots for the people who live and breathe Oregon football. A $10 charge would be a meager price to pay for those who deeply care about the Ducks, and would likely be enough to make some of those students, shall we say “not so in tune” with the game, to watch from home.
I’m not saying those students are bad fans, but when I see one of my die-hard friends have to stay on the couch, while we set out on the beautiful walk through Alton Baker park to Autzen Stadium, it does tug at my heart a little bit.
The Ducks also don’t have an enormous student section. While opposing teams may feel that the Oregon student section is an imposing fixture, it may be more due to enthusiasm and crowd noise rather than sheer size.
With about 5,500 seats, sections 4 through 8 at the stadium are pretty average in terms of capacity, at least as far as Pac-12 football stadiums go. Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, Cal, Arizona State, UCLA, and USC all have larger student sections than Autzen has. Now, a lot of those schools have larger stadiums as well. But the point is that a student ticket at Oregon football games is an extremely hot commodity.
How hot? Burning. Simple supply and demand can tell you that a student body of 24,000 trying to score one of the 5,500 tickets on sale is difficult, to say the least. Each class is allotted a portion of the remaining tickets, making it harder, as well.
Honestly, the Ducks have earned it. Oregon has sold out 96 straight games at Autzen Stadium dating back to the 1999 season. Oregon actually has the highest average percent of stadium capacity in the nation. At 106.46% of full capacity every game, Autzen really knows how to pack in the fans.
When all is said and done I can’t risk not being able to see the Ducks in the flesh, in the stadium. It’s a fan’s way of participating and showing support, and it’s a must for anyone who wants to be considered a hardcore fan.
I’ll cave for the $367 because the Ducks mean that much to me. I may have to sacrifice in other ways. I’ll start working two jobs for my Ducks. I’ll start eating peanut butter sandwiches and Top Ramen in the name of football!
So, as I embark on my quest for season tickets at 6 p.m. this Sunday, wish me luck. I’m fired up, and I’m ready. Now it’s just up to the football gods, and, of course … the refresh button.
Top Photo by Kevin Cline