Ever since Boston College Athletics released its system for how donors will get a chance to watch the Eagles play the University of Notre Dame in their Fenway Park matchup on Nov. 21, one question has remained: how will students get tickets? On Wednesday, that answer got a little clearer.
Later this week, the Athletic Department will release its full plan for purchasing a Gold Pass for the 2015-16 school year. Once again, the Gold Pass will cost $199 and will give students full access to all BC sporting events, including football, hockey, and basketball.
Jamie DiLoreto, associate athletic director of External Operations, expressed his general satisfaction with the Gold Pass app’s success so far. “I think the atmosphere, the impact we’ve seen in the last two years, especially around the high-demand games, has been great,” DiLoreto said. He and Laurel Carter, assistant director of sports marketing, however, revealed that some changes will come to the app in 2015-16.
As happened this year, the sporting events will be divided into three tiers: high-demand, medium-demand, and low-demand games, with low-demand being the highest point total. Also like in 2014-15, certain games, such as the men’s hockey game against Boston University, will require a certain point total to attend. While Alumni Stadium has enough capacity to admit all Gold Pass owners for football games, DiLoreto suggested that more games in 2015-16 will require this incentive system, including BC men’s basketball’s matchup against Duke. He noted, however, that high-demand games shouldn’t be a problem for students. “Everyone who has wanted to go [to a high-demand game] has been able to,” DiLoreto said.
Starting this fall, BC Athletics will also implement a rollover system for the points a student accumulates over this season. Students will be split into four groups, with the top group starting next year with a certain number of points, followed by three subsequent groups with a decreasing number, according to Carter. This is a reversal of this year’s policy, which wiped everyone clean at the beginning of the 2014-15 season.
The Gold Pass app’s developers have also narrowed the geo-fence by which a student’s smartphone can check into the game. The loose geo-fence created an unfair advantage for students on the Newton Campus, who could check into soccer and field hockey games from their dorms, as well as students who passed by Conte Forum or Alumni Stadium without actually going into the game. This was brought up last year, Carter says, causing an initial tightening of the geo-fence. A further decreasing of the size, Carter believes, will make checking in without attending a lot harder for students.
The system, however, is not without some kinks. The app’s developers have yet to figure out how to implement a system to determine how much time a student actually spends at the game (if any at all). BC Athletics will work to fix this problem over the summer, though a change does not look likely in this coming season. “This next year we most likely will not do length of stay just because [we] don’t want to implement something where we’re giving points to people but it’s not accurate,” Carter said.
BC Athletics could not give an accurate answer to how many students downloaded and used the Gold Pass app because of BC’s email system. Since each student is provided with two emails based on his or her name—for example, [email protected] and [email protected]—some students had trouble by creating two accounts with the app. This may explain some errors students had with an inconsistent amount of points they totaled over this year. According to Carter, because of this email system, there isn’t a way to fix this issue. To keep all of their points on the same account, “students just have to keep signing into the same [email],” Carter said.
Many in the Athletic Department also feel that some sports do not get as much attention as others based on how the Gold Pass is constructed. “The spring is probably where we need to invest more, with the end of season rewards,” said DiLoreto, who expressed BC’s desire to entice more fans to games of the spring sports like baseball, softball, and lacrosse. Building off the successes of giveaways, such as the Doug Flutie bobblehead and the panorama of Alumni Stadium, BC Athletics is also welcoming ideas for further incentives and prizes for high point totals.
In addition, the BC-Notre Dame game has added an extra wrinkle into the plans for this year. Despite being in Boston, the game is a Notre Dame home game. Therefore, BC is only allotted the ACC standard of 5,000 tickets out of the stadium’s near-38,000 seats for its fans. These will then be divided amongst students, alumni, and family and friends of the team. Three weeks ago, Steve Novak, associate athletic director of Athletic Development, stated that the department estimates that 3,600 to 3,800 tickets will be allotted for the “public,” which will largely consist of donors. That leaves about 1,200 to 1,400 for families of players and staff, and the general student population.
Students who purchase a Gold Pass by July 15, 2015 will be automatically entered into a lottery to receive the opportunity to purchase tickets to the BC-Notre Dame game. Tickets will be $50 or $125, based on sightlines within Fenway. Since the Gold Pass system can detect who has purchased it in previous years, the lottery will be weighted for seniority, according to DiLoreto and Carter—an unprecedented move for BC Athletics. “We did think this was important to benefit seniors and juniors,” Carter said.
Students who are not selected for the lottery will have the option to enter another lottery to attend a live watch party at the House of Blues on Lansdowne Street, hosted by the BC Alumni Association. Tickets to this event will be either $25 or $50, depending on whether a student indicates they are interested in one or two tickets. Students may bring a guest who is not a holder of the Gold Pass to this event, but must indicate if either member of the party is at least 21 years of age. DiLoreto anticipates that there will be about 500 to 750 students who can attend this event.
Exact percentiles by grade for the ticket lottery have yet to be determined, and the amount of student tickets available to BC will not provided until July.
Featured Image by Daniel Lee / Heights Senior Staff