Yes It’s True: On line ticket sales rule stirs controversy

Wayland Union Schools’ decision to sell athletic game tickets only on line has generated a robust debate in the community, with the football season opener between the Wildcats and neighborhood rival Hopkins approaching Friday, Aug. 26.

A large number of local fans have expressed confusion and displeasure with not being able to buy tickets at the gate. Those who arrive at Ron Stehouwer Stadium will be asked to show their passes that were purchased on the Internet. Cash payments for getting into the game will not be accepted.

This isn’t the first time Internet-only sales were implemented. The softball tournament contests followed the same rules.

And Wayland isn’t the only school district adopting this procedure.

The following is a survey of what’s been said on Facebook at the Wayland Community chat web site:

Naomi Stirdivant: “I’m indifferent about this. Every other school and sporting event I’ve attended over the last year does this. It takes two minutes to get your tickets and I never have cash.

“Also, has anyone tried to be apart of getting volunteers to work the sporting events? It’s difficult and everyone complains. If you don’t like the electronic tickets, volunteer to help take cash.”

Angela Lake: “I don’t understand the difference here… you either staff someone to take money for entry (or a volunteer) or you staff someone to look at phones. What exactly is the advantage here?”

Jessica Scwartz: “Is the yearly pass for high school sports only, or does it work for middle school sports as well?

Matt Miner: “What if I send my kid with a friend and I buy the ticket but don’t attend and my kid doesn’t have a phone to show his ticket?”

Dan Casini: “You could buy them on your device in the parking lot when you arrive.”

(Site moderator) Tonya Lyons: “What about elderly people that don’t use the Internet or kids that go who don’t have phones to show their parents bought them a ticket?”

Patricia Velie: “Senior citizens (60 and older) just need to show their Golden Ager pass to get in free. (They are) available at administration office. Good for their lifetime. You don’t need to renew annually.”

Dan Casini: “Parents are also required to accompany kids to events so they don’t run wild.”

Becky Sparks Wolowicz: “Not all kids have debit cards to purchase tickets on their phones. My almost 15-year-old daughter doesn’t have a phone. So if she shows up without us because we are at work, how does she get in? I can’t send a screen shot of the ticket. This is a bad idea or they need to take cash too.”

Anthony Winters: “Wouldn’t it be better to take money at the gates so you don’t have to pay processing fees? I don’t know, I could be wrong…”

Jenny Sass Ward: “It’s a terrible idea for students now that they are paying for tickets.”
Tonya Lyons: “I’m not sure why they are doing this! Absolutely crazy to me!”
Autumn Bonte: “They have had to pay, that hasn’t changed. We will be offering a pass for them as well.”

Becky Sparks Wolowicz: “I think it’s a bad idea, too. What about elderly that don’t know technology or use it? For example, my dad doesn’t have a debit/credit card. He believes in pay cashing or check.”

Tonya Lyons: “They could have the option to pay online, but also to buy them at the event.”

River Lynn: “It’s a non profit, so my guess is they either have the fees waved, or lowered. A lot of inner city schools have been doing this, at least in our conference. They always announce ahead of time that tickets must be purchased in advance.

“As someone who works tickets booth often (in Hopkins), I see so many people without cash these days. Same at sports signups and camps. Parents are lost when we can’t take cards. With everything moving to cashless, and the serious lack of volunteers, maybe this is the only option.”

Anthony Winters: “I have a non profit and I get charged. (I think $2 per transaction?) I don’t have cash much, but the processor has to make money. It’s a business. I’m willing to bet 10 bucks they take 0.75 of every transaction. (I would like to know for sure, not that it’s been talked about).”

Kay Shurkamp Herp: “That was my thoughts also. Wave of the future…”

River Lynn: “Anthony Winters, those are pretty high transaction costs if you’re paying that. And don’t quote me; but if they are waving or lowering the fees for non-profit it wouldn’t it be a tax writeoff?

“Even at $10, our business transaction fees our significantly less than $.75

“Also I haven’t checked the website, nor will I until closer to this game, but like most tickets you buy online, concerts, eventbright, and so on, the purchaser pays the fees, not the host.

“And lastly, doing it this way helps them keep better information, like tracking attendance and so on. I’m a cash person myself, but the growing population isn’t.

Angela Strader: “I know it’s not common. But what about those who don’t have online access, smart devices or even debit cards? I just think this is crazy. It’s bad enough at large venues, but now at a public school in a smaller hometown… disappointed.”

Destinee Roberts-Buckner: “Angela Strader or the elderly, who love to watch their grandchildren. I 100 percent agree with you.”

Angela Strader: “Destinee Roberts-Buckner yes! Even of the elderly who have a smart phone, many do not understand how to work apps and paying for things through an app.”

Becky Sparks Wolowicz: “Everyone should be calling the athletic director. I’m going to. How can kids buy tickets without a debit/credit card? Some kids don’t have phones. My dad pays cash or check. He doesn’t do the whole smart phone apps and stuff.”

Nicki Rahm: “So if I pre buy tickets for my kid and he gets sick and can’t go, I’m out my tickets? Or I will have to Venmo a parent’s friend to cover my kid because they don’t have anything but cash? This seems silly in my opinion.”

Autumn Bonte: “Nikki Rahm, there is no need to pre-buy tickets. We will not have a limit on ticket sales. So purchasing right before the game will be the best bet. Unfortunately, there will not be refunds for tickets purchased in advance.”

Justin Cox: “So is it that you cannot trust someone to take money at the game I guess? So ridiculous that it has come to this. Not everything has to go to electronic. If it is not broke, don’t fix it. We complain about kids on technology, but then we can’t attend an outside event before getting on technology. It doesn’t even make sense.”

River Lynn: “Justin Cox, it’s probably more lack of volunteers.”

Candi Bala Marquard: “River Lynn, I could be wrong, but I believe a volunteer will still need to be present to accept the e-tickets? If no one is checking, why would people purchase?

River Lynn: “You’re not wrong. It would still take ONE volunteer to check tickets, rather then two or three to make cash. In addition, someone had to count the cash, make a paper trail for it, and deposit it. While doing it digitally it’s directed deposited into the proper account with out any further hands.

Judy Shafer: “Sounds like a lot of people are not happy with this idea for several reasons…”

Linda Kort-Hovey: “What happens if I bought tickets for out of town people and they can’t make it or games canceled for weather?”

Autumn Bonte: “Linda Kort-Hovey if games are canceled because of weather you will be issued a refund, it will be automatic as soon as we hit the button. I would suggest purchasing tickets right before the game if you have family from out of town coming. We do not have a limit on ticket sales, so there is no need to buy them in advance.”

Angela Strader: I’m wondering how many people will not know about this and show up at the gates with $5 cash and get upset and leave. What about the visiting team and their spectators?”

Judy Shafer: “Angela Strader, I agree. I know this happened last year to someone. So sad and then they just left. Not much support for the team then.”

Curtis Strader: “This is bs. Not everyone has a debit card or credit card.”

Becky Hohnke: “You can pick your (seniors”) pass up from the administration office… The senior pass is good for all year.”

Vestita Ortiz: “Can you just buy a sports pass for the whole year?”

Autumn Bonte: “Vestita Ortiz yes you can, it is $75 per person. It will allow you into all home games for the entire school year.”

Hayley Koperski Rickert: “Do employees get in for free? (Just checking). Also, can you buy a season pass?”

Autumn Bonte: “Hayley Koperski Rickert yes, employees get in for free. You must show your badge though. We do offer a season pass, it is $75 per person, it will get you into every home game for the school year.”

Joylyn Culver: “Not everyone has that ability to do that. That’s sad.”

Sonya Elliott: “Joylyn-so true! They should offer both options! Someone is still going to have to scan a barcode for an online ticket. I truly don’t understand what difference it makes.”

Judy Shafer: “Joylyn Culver I agree. Maybe grandparents or a senior person would love to come and support the team. They don’t all have phones and or computers to purchase online.”

After examining the comments, this reminds me of public reactions to self-service checkout lanes at grocery stores or years ago, self-serve gas stations, or so many other examples of technology (automation) taking over functions that used to be provided by humans.

I hear tell it’s difficult to get volunteers take tickets at the gate for games. It was bad enough at Wayland home football games a year ago that former Supt. Christina Hinds and her husband, Kevin, volunteered that service.

“For the times, they are a changing.” — Bob Dylan

1 Comment

  • Perhaps a compromise can be made with a kiosk onsite that takes credit/debit cards and spits out tickets? I realize they don’t just give away such machines but perhaps add in 10% say to cover processing and maintenance? Maybe a shred expense for Athletic and Band boosters? As long as you are selling the base ticket for the MHSAA price I would think it would be okay but I could be wrong.

    One thing I think this does is gets the names of most people in attendance, where before there wasn’t any such tracking of individual attendees. Just a little more privacy we give up?

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