Some Questions, Anxiety Raised…
By CB360′s Paul Fiarkoski
Along with the move to the new TD Ameritrade Park for the 2011 College World Series, the NCAA has implemented a few changes as to how fans will get tickets. Changes that are raising questions for some, anxiety for others.
The most noticeable change is that reserved tickets for individual games were not made available for purchase online as in past years. Instead, ticket pre-sales were limited to the purchase of “season” tickets. Previous season ticket holders had dibs on seats at the new stadium. A season ticket holder owns rights to their reserved seat(s) for all games of the College World Series only.
Some long-time season ticket holders were miffed with the process early on since they were asked to pay upfront for tickets without knowing exactly where their seats would be. They received letters in early spring detailing the location of their seats.
Other fans are asking how they can get tickets since there was no online presale of reserved seats as in years past. Currently, the only legitimate online ticket sales are through a site called Flash Seats, the only outlet endorsed by the NCAA, operated by a company called Veritix that specializes in paperless event tickets.
“The NCAA’s agreement with Veritix provides our fans with a legitimate and safe means to purchase tickets on the secondary market,” said Dennis Poppe, NCAA VP of football and baseball.
Ways to buy tickets
Aside from the presale of season tickets, there are other means by which non-season ticket holders can obtain tickets according to the NCAA website:
- General admission ticket books. By purchasing books of general admission (GA) tickets at various outlets in the Omaha area or by mail, phone or web. General admission tickets entitle the bearer to an unreserved seat in the bleachers beyond left or right field. Admission is on a first come, first served basis for about 5,500 people. Since GA tickets are good for any game during the series, a long wait in line before the game is generally the only sure way to gain admission.
- From ticket holders. Prior to and throughout the series, season-ticket holders are able to sell or transfer their reserved seats to friends, family or buyers through Flash Seats – a new website endorsed by the NCAA. (As of May 31, when the 64 tournament teams were announced, tickets were selling for over 300% of face value.)
- At the box office. Fans can purchase tickets in person at the box office during the tournament. Once the Series is underway, a limited number of individual reserved seat tickets, will go on sale through the TD Ameritrade Park box office starting at 10 a.m. on game days. At 9:30 a.m., a random drawing will be held every day that games are played to determine the order in which fans may line up to purchase reserved seat tickets. Each person in line may purchase up to four tickets. No telephone or internet orders will be accepted for reserved seats from the box office.
Upgrading general admission tickets
Todd Kindvall will be returning to Omaha from Eaton, CO for his second College World Series. His first was in 2010.
“My buddy who lives north of Omaha bought a couple books of general admission tickets,” said Kindvall. “We’re going to sit in the GA seats for the weekend games and upgrade to reserved seats during the week.”
Buying tickets from resellers
Curt Stimpson is a retired baseball coach in Redmond, WA. He first came to the College World Series in 2002 as a birthday gift from his wife and has been back several times since.
“I know the $28 face-value reserved tickets being offered right now by the NCAA approved vendors are selling from between $80 & $120 per ticket,” Stimpson said. “Not many average Nebraska fathers and sons are going to be taking advantage of that. I’m thinking that attendance might be affected.”
Another option is to purchase tickets from private sellers in front of the stadium. “In my experience private party sellers around the stadium have only sold their tickets at face value,” Stimpson said.
Of course, traditional websites such as Ebay and Craigslist remain options for purchasing tickets too.
Watch out for scammers
Where there is money to be made, you always need to be careful of scams. In May, Omaha TV station WOWT featured the story of an Omaha doctor who paid $29 each for what he thought was reserved tickets. What he received in the mail was a book of general admission tickets that he could have bought locally for $8 per ticket.
“I’m certainly not going to take my wife and two little kids to wait in line all day for a chance at a seat,” Dr. Foix told WOWT. “I needed reserved seats and that’s what I thought I was getting.”
Tips for buying College World Series tickets:
- The more flexible your schedule is, the more likely you are to get tickets at face value. Fans can typically walk up and purchase tickets at the box office an hour before afternoon games during the week. Tickets to the championship games, as well as evening or weekend games, will be much harder to obtain.
- Bad weather means good seats. If the forecast calls for a high probabability of rain or extreme heat, you can count on plenty of tickets being available at the ticket office or from resellers outside the stadium.
- General admission tickets may be upgraded to reserved tickets for the price of the reserved ticket minus the face value of the general admission ticket ($8).
- Due to a new queueing process the NCAA implemented in 2010, there is no advantage to arriving at the ticket box office earlier than 9 a.m. That’s because people in line will be given a ticket with a number on it. One of those tickets will be designated by random selection as the first person to purchase tickets, and anyone ahead of that person must move to the back of the line.
- New this year: tickets purchased at the box office may be paid for with a credit or debit card. Cash is an acceptable form of payment too, but checks will no longer be accepted.
- Another twist for 2011: each person in line is limited to four tickets per game. The limit was six in past years.
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The Dugout‘s new store in Omaha is located right across from the Road To Omaha statue at TD Ameritrade Stadium!