Ahead of the Alabama-Georgia game on Oct. 17, students are scrambling to buy and sell their tickets far above face value. For those who did not receive one of the roughly 3,000 student tickets available, they are hard to come by.
In light of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) stadium capacity limitations for the 2020 football season, the UA Athletics Ticket Office announced in an email to the student body that there would be a new process for student ticket sales.
“Students will be limited to a maximum of two games via the opt-in process across the entire season to maximize inventory and reach as many students as possible,” the email stated.
However, according to the senior associate athletics director of the UA Athletic Department Jessica Paré, there are no restrictions on how many tickets students can receive via transfers to their Action Cards.
Tickets are distributed for each game based on UA credit hours, with seniors receiving 40% of available tickets, juniors receiving 20%, sophomores and freshmen each receiving 15% and graduate students receiving 10%.
Two weeks ago, 2,976 student tickets were sold for the Alabama-Texas A&M game.
The new system, however, creates a significant disadvantage for some students. Those who have transferred credits from high school or summer courses, or who have participated in co-ops, may have fewer UA-earned credit hours than other students in their classes.
The recently instituted Tide Loyalty Points program has also been disregarded for the 2020 and 2021 seasons, leaving the loyal fans who participated last year with the same odds now as their peers.
Kate Blancaflor, a sophomore majoring in human development and family studies who was lucky enough to be awarded a student ticket for the Alabama-Georgia game on Oct. 17, ultimately decided to resell her ticket through the Alabama Student Ticket Exchange Facebook group.
“I am selling my ticket because I wanted a lower bowl but got an upper bowl, and some of my friends from California decided to come and they obviously can’t get in,” Blancaflor said.
As of Oct. 7, she had already received an offer for $275. That’s more than a 1000% markup, considering she purchased the ticket for $23.
In fact, the original 2020 full-season student ticket package only cost $125.
There are many other students like Blancaflor who have chosen to resell their tickets this season.
According to the Action Card Office, 410 student tickets were transferred from one student to another ahead of the Texas A&M game. Those transfers account for around 14% of the student tickets sold.
However, some students are frustrated with the prices others are offering to transfer their tickets.
Elizabeth Lake, a senior majoring in kinesiology, is one of many students now trying to buy a resold student ticket for the Alabama-Georgia game, but she does not know if she can afford it.
“To be honest, I’m not willing to spend that much,” Lake said. “I opted in for a ticket, and if I was to [have received] one I would have gone to the game. I think it’s not right that students who got tickets are selling them for such a high price. I’m a senior here at Alabama, and if I had the money I would pay it, but I work two jobs and just don’t see why people feel… the need to charge that much for a ticket they paid $23 for.”
Student tickets for the Alabama-Georgia game have been listed in the Alabama Student Ticket Exchange Facebook group for $300, $400 and even $450.
Taylor Feniello, a senior majoring in news media, suggested that some students even opted in for a ticket with no intention of actually going to the game if they received one.
“I’m truly disgusted with some of the behavior in this group,” Feniello posted in the Facebook group. “Capitalizing off of a game that some people were wishing they would get tickets for. Seniors, especially, who didn’t get tickets… And the fact that some of you opted in basically for what I’m seeing just to sell it… Do better.”
Other students posting in the Facebook group have not even marked their tickets with a set price; instead, they are just seeking the best offer. They can ensure that they will get the highest value for their ticket by auctioning it off through private messages.
Paré said there are really no limitations to the amount of money a student ticket can be resold for, and there are no restrictions on how many times students can transfer tickets.
“[Changing] this would need to be discussed between the Office of Student Life, the SGA and Athletics for any changes to the current process,” Paré said.
Although the resale prices are high, students who did not receive a ticket through the opt-in process do not have many other options.
As of Oct. 12, one week before the Alabama-Georgia game, general admission tickets were sold out on the UA Athletics website. On StubHub, which is the official secondary ticketing partner of UA Athletics, the cheapest tickets available are being resold for $315 a piece before processing and handling fees.
Students can also still enter a first-come, first-serve waitlist for donated tickets, but donated inventory is not guaranteed.