On Monday afternoon, the Marquette athletic department Twitter announced that student tickets for men’s basketball would be going on sale this week. That’s not news. The exact phrasing of it was interesting, though.
Look at the image in the tweet. “Check your Marquette email for your sale date and details,” emphasis mine there. The implication was that there would be some kind of multi-tier system for students to buy student tickets for Shaka Smart’s first season in charge.
On Tuesday, the exact plan became plain and clear, or at least clear to those of us who do not have student email accounts. Here’s Tuesday’s tweet:
This year’s juniors and seniors — students who were enrolled at Marquette and had student tickets for the 2019-20 season — get priority to purchase tickets this season. All other juniors and seniors get their crack at tickets on Wednesday, followed by sophomores on Thursday and freshmen on Friday.
I like this.
First of all, it’s doing something different. In the past, there would be an on sale date, and that was that. Whenever you had a chance to buy your tickets, no matter your standing at MU, you bought your tickets. In the recent past, Marquette has allowed returning students to buy their tickets for next season before the previous school year ended, which is a version of this as well. Things have to go differently here because there are no students who had tickets for the 2020-21 season and Marquette couldn’t safely say back in April that they would be able to sell said tickets either.
This time around, the MU ticket office is adding a wrinkle. On Tuesday, anyone who had student tickets in 2019-20, the last time that there were students at games, was allowed to purchase tickets. These are essentially guaranteed sales. These are people who wanted student tickets back in their first year or two on campus and it’s a pretty safe bet that almost all of them will want tickets for this coming season.
On Wednesday, any students who were enrolled in 2019-20 can buy tickets. I like this angle as well. There may be students from that school year who didn’t buy tickets for one reason or another that wasn’t really their fault, be it class schedules or work schedules or any number of reasons, but they were still Marquette hoops fans and they would still want tickets. Even more so, this is the group of students that had the experience of attending Marquette basketball games at Fiserv Forum and then had a year’s worth of those memories ripped away from them by the pandemic. Marquette is going out of their way to make sure that anyone who was enrolled in 2019-20 and is still enrolled at MU can get tickets to see the Golden Eagles this winter. This is smart. These are the two classes at Marquette who have been to games in the past, and catering to them, even just a little bit, is a winning strategy in my mind.
From there, on Thursday and Friday, we move along to the two classes of Marquette students who either A) weren’t allowed to buy tickets last year for the current sophomores or B) are in their first year at MU and thus are approaching their first chance to buy tickets. No one in either of these classes has been to a Marquette game as a student before. Sorry, y’all, but while I’m sure you’re all very nice people, I’m going to side with the athletic department offering a leg up to the students who have been around the block six or seven times already.
I have to mention that this system is going to create a situation where some slower sophomores and most of the freshmen might feel lucky to get tickets. If I remember correctly from previous ticket sales at Fiserv Forum, the student section is around 3,000 seats. Marquette’s current undergraduate population is in the ballpark of 8,000 students after being a little over that at the start of 2020-21. Only three-eighths of the undergrad population can get student tickets. If the juniors and seniors — especially the seniors in their final year of college — are particularly motivated to buy tickets, then that’s not going to leave very many behind for the underclassmen. If this system ends up creating a situation where it feels special to be able to attend games, then I think that’s a pretty good thing.
If Shaka Smart figures out a way to win more than a few ballgames while it feels special to be able to attend said games as a student, thus making it even more special? Even better in my book.
All in all, tip of the cap to the ticket wizards who came up with this idea. I’m sure there’s several downsides to it that I, a season ticket holder with guaranteed reserved seats for every game, can not see, but the good parts are too good for me to let go by without offering a bit of praise to those involved.
10 days to Marquette Madness.
44 days to the exhibition against Bowie State.
49 days to the opener against SIU-Edwardsville.