Game tickets are a treasure to college sports fans, but they " re also frustratingly easy to misplace - and, for most people, too costly to replace. Now Oxford-based TicketsXchange (web) has developed an electronic ticketing system that will make all those pesky paper tickets a thing of the past while adding unique, user-friendly services that will revolutionize the way sports fans manage their season tickets. TicketsXchange, an online season ticket management company, has recently contracted with The University of Mississippi, Louisiana State University and Delta State University to offer e-ticketing solutions for on-campus sports events. "This is the future of college sports ticketing," said Steve McDavid, founder of TicketsXchange.
"Our system not only provides a state-of-the-art E-ticketing platform for universities, but it costs them nothing in out-of-pocket expenses and generates additional revenues that the schools would never get with the old-fashioned paper-based system," McDavid said. TicketsXchange and Ole Miss will begin providing a range of electronic season ticket services to Rebel fans in the fall of this year. Chief among these services are the Season Ticket E-Card, online season ticket orders and renewals and specialized ticket management options. The E-Card is offered free to Ole Miss fans with all season ticket orders. "The concept is simple: replace the current paper ticket model for college sports with a branded, bar-coded, highly intelligent E-Card that each fan can manage through a simple Web browser," McDavid said. Multiple season ticket holders receive one E-Card for each season ticket purchased.
The E-Card is scanned by a machine at the stadium entrance, and a centralized computer database keeps track of its usage, ensuring that the card is approved only once per individual game. In the event of a lost or misplaced E-Card, tickets also can be accessed online and printed from any computer, anywhere, or printed at the E-Card will-call location on game-day. "With the E-Card, fans no longer have to keep up with all those individual paper tickets," said TicketsXchange CEO John Spivey. "This service eliminates the risk of lost or misplaced tickets and the hassles of dealing with scalpers to buy replacement tickets." Season Ticket E-Cards are now available to anyone purchasing a season ticket for Ole Miss football, said Sans Russell of the Ole Miss Athletic Ticket Office.
"We " re extremely -more- Page 2 - TicketsXchange pleased with the response from Rebel fans so far. We believe that, as more ticket holders learn about the benefits of this service, more and more of them will sign up for e-ticketing." In addition, TicketsXchange offers management services for Ole Miss season ticket holders, including the ability to: o Transfer unused tickets via the Internet to friends, family members or associates; o Sell unused tickets online to the TicketsXchange network of Rebel fans; o Donate unused tickets to the Loyalty Foundation as a tax-deductible gift A per-season management fee is charged for these services. Fans who are not season ticket holders can use the service - such as buying or selling a ticket online - by paying a small fee for each transaction. All Ole Miss student season ticket holders will automatically receive free E-Cards this year in the form of their Student IDs. All box-level season ticket holders will receive free E-Cards and, for the first year only, free ticket management services. Brad Teague, associate director of the Ole Miss Loyalty Foundation, said the e-ticketing system may help expand the Rebels' fan base.
"We " re excited to have access to such a dynamic tool," he said. "A management service of this caliber allows us not only to keep our stands full, but also to involve more of our community in sporting events. We can invite children from Oxford and surrounding areas to attend a Rebel game at little or no cost to them. We might even be able to convert members of our communities to Rebel fans at an early age." While other ticketing service providers charge their client universities extensive fees for set-up, equipment and support, the TicketsXchange model is unique in that it costs universities nothing in out-of-pocket expenses to participate. TicketsXchange furnishes the school with a customized Web portal, networking and scanning equipment, equipment for producing the E-Cards and marketing support. TicketsXchange negotiates a revenue-sharing partnership with each university once the system is in operation.
Similar e-ticketing services will be offered at Louisiana State University in 2003. Tiger fans already have shown enthusiasm for electronic tickets: Eighty percent of all tickets sold - 3, 200 out of about 4, 000 - for LSU's annual Spring Game were e-tickets. "The LSU Spring Game demonstrates that at least 80 percent of ticket buyers are ready to embrace e-ticketing," Spivey said. "It's simply a matter of educating the fans about the advantages of e-tickets and management services." In addition, TicketsXchange has developed an e-ticketing package for small colleges, including Delta State University. The company also will offer its e-ticketing services to sports, arts and entertainment venues in non-college locations through its "city site" program.
A Web site for Oxford (web) already has been created and will serve as an online -more- Page 3 - TicketsXchange clearinghouse for venues selling tickets to a range of events, including live music, theater and festivals. Sites for other cities in Mississippi will follow soon. Finally, TicketsXchange is in negotiations with Seat Booker, a United Kingdom company, to license its e-ticket and management solutions in the UK. "E-ticketing lends itself to more than sports," McDavid said. "Any ticketed event - a concert, a ballet or opera performance, a play - can be an e-ticketed event for the convenience of the ticket buyers.
The e-ticketing option drives ticket sales and keeps the seats filled - once you " ve bought your e-ticket in advance, you " re far more likely to make it to the show." On the sports side, McDavid believes that success at Ole Miss and LSU will bring more major universities into the TicketsXchange fold in 2004. "Everyone benefits from this strategy," he said. "The fans never have to worry about losing their tickets or wasting money on tickets they can't use. The universities enjoy new revenues they'd never get otherwise, reduce the problem of scalping and save money on printing and mailing costs, all while benefiting from a more efficient, user-friendly ticketing system that helps build fan loyalty and keep the stadium seats filled at every game." For more information on TicketsXchange and its services, visit the company's Web site at web.