10 Questions AD’s Should Ask if Their School is Considering Online Tickets

September 23, 2017 at 12:00 pm. 

online tickets

To get started with online tickets, there are two approaches to take:

  1. What problems is my school having with tickets and event hosting?
  2. What opportunities or features could an online ticketing company bring to my school in a significant way?

Most digital ticketing companies are structured and designed in order to help your organization collect money more easily, see your accounting information more easily, and speed up the fan’s admission experience.

The main features or requirements to set up online ticketing vary from company to company.

Athletic Director Frequently Asked Questions

1) How much time can I put into running and promoting digital tickets?

Digital ticketing solutions vary in the amount of time it takes to set up the system. In most cases, if you, the AD, are running the show and the decision (and workload responsibility) is yours, you’re looking for a company whose staff handles the bulk of the setup, keeping your workload and schedule intact.

You should keep in mind that last-minute schedule changes or other events might happen, where you’ll need to have either easy communication with digital ticket staff, or direct access to your digital ticket platform to make the changes yourself. If a company does not offer you direct access to make manual changes, you’ll have to rely on getting in touch with a customer service representative to make those edits.

From there, if you have dedicated staff or a strong booster presence helping your department, you may want to consider a solution with more bells and whistles. Some of the best digital ticketing practices include a good social media presence and regular communication to parents, and often auxiliary staff or boosters can handle those kinds of tasks.

2) How much does selling tickets online cost?

Digital ticketing companies have different pricing structures that are mostly based on transaction fees for each ticket purchase. Those fees are passed along to ticket buyers, so that schools don’t have to pay up front for the process of selling tickets.

Some additional costs that are associated with digital tickets depend on how those tickets are redeemed, and a company’s involvement in your sales. When you are comparing providers, be sure to ask about costs for:

  1. Scanning equipment or credit card processing equipment
  2. Website hosting
  3. Call center for purchasing tickets over the phone

Different companies will have different capabilities, so it’s important to think about extra costs that might come up.

As an example, you can see StateChamps’ pricing model here.

3) Is my school too small for online tickets?

No- when AD’s of smaller schools think of online tickets, they think of schools with large crowds at football games.

What online tickets do is offer your parents and visiting fans an option to buy tickets to games, student activities, drama performances, and other events with a credit card before the day of the event.

It gives people the ability to buy tickets to your events at their convenience, and you still receive the full face value of the admission price.

4) How much work do parents and fans have to do to buy tickets online, and redeem them at the game?

Ticketing companies set up websites on behalf of your school to make it easy for parents to find your events and purchase tickets accordingly. From there, there are two main ways to redeem tickets at the door:

Scanning tickets at the gate is how the majority of digital ticketing companies redeem tickets. Depending on the company, parents will either download an app, present an email with their ticket, or print tickets at home. At events, those tickets will need to be scanned by your admission staff (who will need scanners or phone apps made for scanning) in combination with required wireless internet.

The other option for accepting tickets at the door is in-the-phone software, which is downloaded by ticket buyers. After the ticket purchase, the tickets download directly to users’ phones, and admission staff interacts with the screen display to digitally redeem tickets. This kind of technology is the kind of software that StateChamps has chosen to further develop.

5) How much lead time does it take to get set up to sell tickets online?

Typically, a digital ticketing company can take your schedule, ticket prices, and other important information, and have your season set up within a few days. If you’re working on digital tickets well in advance of the season, that’s plenty of time.

If you need a last-minute schedule build, you’ll need to talk to your ticket provider and see if they have the manpower to set you up very quickly, or if that last-minute build will require an additional fee. StateChamps can typically have your events built in one or two business days, depending on the urgency of your situation.

6) Do I have to sign a contract?

It depends on the company – some companies require multi-year contracts, while others don’t require a contract and allow more flexibility in trying out the service. StateChamps does not require contracts to sell tickets online.

7) How many staff members will I need to facilitate online tickets, and do they need to be dedicated staff or volunteers? How much training do I think they can handle?

The amount of staff you’ll need will depend on how tickets are redeemed. Like we mention in the last question, companies either require scanning equipment or have an app that allows for tickets to be redeemed.

If you’re going to be scanning, you’ll need extra people. That way, regular gate staff can be selling paper tickets and online ticket staff can be scanning. If you don’t need to scan, your gate staff can redeem tickets on the phone and also do their normal duties.

Depending on the resources and staff available at your school, you may have athletic or school staff able to go through some training and learn how to use newer technology.

Otherwise, if your school relies more on boosters and parent volunteers to work events, you’ll need to use a company whose technology requires little or no training prior to an event.

8) Do I need to have a way to accept credit card payments at the door, as well as cash?

This is one of the biggest changes digital ticketing can bring to your school, as it can potentially bring a lot of additional revenue from a new payment source. Some digital ticketing companies really push the before-the-event sale, while others have developed tech or solutions so that you can accept credit card payments along with cash at the door.

If you need to keep costs down, ask companies to see if they have point-of-sale solutions that don’t require the purchase of additional equipment to accept credit cards. StateChamps offers a point-of-sale app for both Apple and Android devices that lets schools accept credit card payments for any item.

online tickets for sports

9) What kinds of tools do online ticketing companies offer to make athletics more accessible for parents?

Different schools have different athletic offerings, and different programs that get parents involved consistently throughout the year. These programs might include season tickets, rewards or loyalty programs, booster rewards, or all-sports passes (which let people attend multiple events with the same ticket).

If you currently offer any of those programs, you should make sure that the company offers digital options of those programs so that it’s easier for parents to take advantage of the new features. Those digital options might include reserved seating for season tickets (so parents can keep the same seats throughout the year), or digital all-sports passes.

all-sports passes

10) My community might have trouble adapting to newer technology. Is there any way besides going online to buy tickets?

Some digital ticketing companies offer a variety of ways to purchase tickets. Every company will have web-based options (when buying on a computer or phone), and some might also have an app that allows in-app ticket purchases.

Besides internet-based options, some digital ticketing companies also offer a call center at no cost, or plans that includes a call center with an additional fee. If you think that some members of your community would prefer to buy tickets over the phone, something like a call center may be important to ask about.

StateChamps provides client schools with free access to our call center, so parents and fans can call in for help buying tickets before the game.

Getting started with online tickets? Check out these other resources:

The Difference Between Online Ticketing and Paper-Only Ticketing at High School Events

3 Things Athletic Directors Need From Their Digital Ticketing Provider

The Online Approach Drives Football Ticket Sales

As VP of Sales, Tom Bowen’s focus and philosophy to the customer base is to help build the best possible solutions for their needs while providing the utmost in customer satisfaction. Tom has lived all over the United States, now calling Birmingham, AL home, where enjoys time with family, watching and playing sports and helping others.