Basketball tickets issued via ATMs

Maria Brachelli

Since mid-February all student basketball game-goers have had to access their free University-issued tickets in a different way from the usual visit to the ticket window. Now students must get their tickets through an ATM. The change occurred for two reasons: to allow students more flexibility when picking up tickets, and to promote the Nova Savings Bank, a corporate sponsor of Villanova University Athletics.

“The original intent was to provide more flexibility for students,” Ticket Manager Gerry Lajoie said. “Previous to the ATM machine, they would be bound by the building hours.”

“I think it’s a great concept where a student can come at any time, any day, to pick up a ticket, and not have to worry about the ticket office being open or having a long line,” said Chris Heck, assistant vice president of the Athletic Department. “All those bumps will be gone over during the summer. We saw it as a plus, once all the kinks are out, to be a convenience to the students, as well as the sponsor through trying to get them exposure with the fans.”

All tickets to home games at the Pavilion will now be distributed from the ATM. However, for various reasons, some students faced long lines to wait for their tickets.

Other students reported problems using the ATM itself. “I went to pick up my tickets for the Providence game and having never used the ATM, I didn’t know what to do, so I tried to use it and followed the directions and it froze,” Andrew Zasowski, a junior finance major said. “The kid behind me says, ‘Oh did it freeze again, it did this yesterday when I came to get my tickets.’ So, I had to come back to pick up my tickets.”

He added, “My beef is not so much with the ATM, but I hate the new tickets. They look so cheap that I’m ashamed to show them to anyone outside of Villanova.”

Lajoie explained that there are some “kinks” that Athletics is aware of and working on to make ticket distribution easier for everyone in the future. For example, every time the University web-server crashes, the ATM freezes and is unable to distribute basketball tickets.

Furthermore, Lajoie said, “Paper specifications are very specific as to what the ATM can distribute.”

The University has considered the aesthetic appeal of the tickets that are distributed through the ATM and has attempted to use alternate card stocks to print the tickets.

“I think that using the ATM to dispense tickets is a good idea … after normal ticket office hours,” Joseph Rosskam said. “When I went to get my tickets, there was a line 20 people deep and it took almost 20 minutes for me to get my tickets. What usually only takes a few minutes to do ended up taking a great deal of time.”

Lajoie said Athletics has learned from the first distribution, and hopes to make changes for next basketball season. “What I’d like to do in the future would be to make the ATM a supplemental way to get tickets, after ticket office hours,” he said. “We hadn’t anticipated it taking so long. Ideally, during the hours of 9-5 the students will be able to pick up their tickets from the ticket office and have the option of using the ATM, and then be able to use the ATM primarily after hours.”

Another possibility Athletics is considering is the expensive addition of more ATMs restricted to the athletics facilities area.

“We have four more years with our contract with Nova Savings Bank,” said Heck. “Every year we want to make it better, we want to make it technology friendly and advanced for our students and our own interests as well.”

“The last time I had to get tickets I forgot untill like 10 minutes before 12, so I ran over there and to get them, and a lady let me in,” junior Matt Ortinsky said.

“It would be nice to pick them up from a person still, but I don’t think the ATM is really that bad. They should get another one and put it right next to the other, so there won’t be long lines.”

All tickets for the home games scheduled at the Wachovia Center must be picked up from the ticket office because these tickets cannot be printed out from the ATM. For these games, “Students will just have to be more aware of the ticket office hours,” Lajoie said.