Ticket Office Cracks Down on Reselling

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Author: Ed Cohen

So you think you’re going to make a killing selling your tickets to this year’s home game against Florida State on e-Bay.

Beware.

Your buyer might be the Notre Dame ticket office. And if you get caught reselling tickets above face value you’ll lose your ticket-ordering privileges for at least two years. If it’s season tickets you’re scalping, you’ll be barred from ordering tickets for at least five years.

The penalties are part of a strict new resale policy adopted by the ticket office. The aim is to discourage alumni, employees and others from ordering tickets when they don’t intend to attend games but rather are angling to resell them at a profit.

“We want to sell the tickets to those who want to come to the game and support the team,” said ticket manager Jim Fraleigh ’88, assistant athletic director for external affairs and ticket operations.

The penalties are no idle threats. The ticket office knows to whom every ticket is sold originally, and its staff plans to monitor e-Bay and other outlets and identify — at least on a spot-check basis — those being sold above face value. The original purchasers will be held accountable, even if they gave away their tickets or sold them at face value to someone who is now trying to scalp them.

The growth of ticket brokerages along with e-Bay and a variety of other Internet sites has created a sometimes lucrative international resale market for Notre Dame football tickets. One of the results is that alumni disappointed after going though the legitimate ticket-buying channel — the ticket lottery — often see scalpers offering hundreds of tickets for sale later at inflated prices. The scalpers are either the original purchasers or are brokers who’ve bought them from the original purchasers in hopes of reselling at a higher price.

The other concern in regard to ticket reselling is potential loss of home-field advantage. At the home game against Nebraska in September 2000, thousands of red-clothed Cornhuskers fans were scattered throughout the crowd. Those outside areas allocated for visiting team tickets couldn’t have been there without the original purchasers selling their tickets.

Fraleigh said that since the new policy was announced earlier this year many legitimate ticket holders have contacted the ticket office with information useful to its investigation of unauthorized reselling. (Not all resales are against the rules; alumni clubs and charitable groups are sometimes given permission to raffle or sell tickets to raise money.) As of midsummer, he said, the office had caught nine individuals and one alumni club scalping tickets.

While the policing continues, the ticket office and Alumni Association are also making it easier to buy extra tickets or unload unneeded ones legitimately. Under a consignment arrangement, alumni and University employees can mail or hand-deliver unwanted tickets to the Alumni Association on game days or before. The association will then offer the tickets for resale at face value at the Gate 3 ticket window of the Joyce Center the morning of home games. The first tickets turned in will be the first ones sold, regardless of seat location. From 8 to 10 a.m., alumni will have first crack at the supply. The remaining tickets will be offered to the general public.

People seeking tickets further in advance can contact the ticket office (574-631-7356) the week of home games to see if the office has received back any unsold tickets allocated to the visiting team, as is often the case. A $7 processing fee (per order, not per ticket) is added for the phone sales. The tickets can be picked up at the stadium’s will-call window. Any remaining tickets of this type are put on sale at the stadium on game day.

Fraleigh said the ticket office is also looking into creating a system to facilitate straight swapping among ticket holders. Such trades are already commonplace within some alumni clubs, and they’re perfectly legitimate, he said.


(October 2003)


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