September 17, 2002

Weekend of Waiting Awaits

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What are you doing this weekend?

I know, I know, it’s only Tuesday, normally a bit early to know your plans for sure. But many Cornellians have known for some time what they will be doing the weekend of Sept. 21. This is the weekend when hockey season tickets will go on sale.

In a continual effort to fill up Lynah Rink with only the most rabid of fans, the athletic department is using its fourth ticket line system in as many years. As I understand it though, this year’s system is by no means the most effective.

At 1 p.m. on Saturday, the ticket office will begin to give out line numbers. Line numbers will be given out until 11 p.m. Saturday night, at which time everyone will prepay for their tickets. Students will then be asked to return beginning at 9am Sunday morning to select seats and pick up their tickets.

So what was a one-day inconvenience last year will become a a weekend-long event this year, as one can reasonably expect the line to begin to form Friday afternoon.

Aside from the full commitment of a weekend to this procedure, there are many aspects of the plan that simply don’t make sense.

Most glaringly, there will be random line checks between 1 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Saturday. These will occur after line numbers have been distributed. My question is: what’s the point of giving out line numbers if you need to stay in line after the numbers are given out? Why not allow students to leave after receiving their line numbers on Saturday and return Sunday morning? The only reason I can see for the ticket office enforcing this procedure is because it can.

Remember, most students attempting to buy hockey tickets this weekend will arrive at Bartels Hall directly from class on Friday (if they have class on Friday), and remain in line until 11:00 Saturday night. They will then be expected to return early Sunday morning. This is an enormous expenditure of time that might, under different circumstances, be used towards other goals, such as partying, watching a movie, eating with friends, or even studying.

Rather than require this level of time commitment, why doesn’t the athletic ticket office call for a different type of commitment: monetary. As any student of economics can tell you, when the demand for something is high (as it is in this case) and the supply is low (as it is in this case), the price should be high. While paying $90 for a season ticket is by no means chump change, one possible solution would be to raise the prices of the tickets.

While I obviously understand that this is not a desirable suggestion on my part, it does make economic sense. Only the most committed of fans would be willing to pay for the tickets at an increased cost. This would accomplish the goal of a raucous Lynah, a reduced number of facetimers within our hallowed rink, and it would create a less populated and thus less painful ticket sale process.

Of course, there’s no guarantee this would work. But, there’s no guarantee this year’s system will either. While there is undeniably more structure to this year’s system than in years past, the result will nevertheless be a ticket line that is more time consuming, more frustrating, and less sensible than last year.

So what are you doing this weekend? I’ll be buying hockey tickets. See you there.

Archived article by Owen Bochner