Student Football Tickets

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Courtesy of UW-Madison Archives

Long before Badger football season gets underway — during a few tense hours in June — certain lucky students make the equivalent of a touchdown pass by securing season-ticket packages.

Others are destined to be on the outside of Camp Randall, looking in.

Just ask Valerie Grayson x’15, who thrice failed to get her hands on tickets. The first year, 2010, she was oblivious to the fleeting timetable, with tickets selling out within thirty-six minutes. The second year, Grayson armed herself with two computers at 7:30 a.m. — when sales began — but overflow demand prevented her from being redirected through the dreaded “please wait” web page in time. The third year, she trekked to Union South, where she could secure top-notch Wi-Fi and spy on competitors. The result was familiar. And she cried.

Grayson finally secured her place within the fourteen-thousand-seat student section in year four. “I was so excited. I started listening to ‘Jump Around,’ ” she says.

June hasn’t always been the signature month for student football enthusiasts. Carrianne Basler ’91 remembers recruiting friends from her residence hall to purchase tickets in person during registration week in August 1986. The demand was far less, but the atmosphere of the games was still a draw. “You knew the team was awful,” she says, “but you went because it was fun.”

The process for obtaining student tickets has gone through many changes in the past two decades. Following the 1993 crowd-surge incident at Camp Randall, the UW temporarily switched from general admission to reserved student seating. In 2005, a voucher-exchange program was moved from midweek — when some students skipped classes and camped out to land the best tickets — to game days. In 2008, the UW briefly experimented with a weighted lottery system, in which seniors had four times the chance of getting tickets as incoming freshmen. Now, students of all class standings race online to purchase a seven-game voucher package and then exchange the vouchers for tickets in any of the six reserved student sections each game day.

Another change? The price. Students now pay $168 (plus a $20 processing fee) for the package. In 1957, the UW raised the price of the Student Athletic Activity Handbook — which allowed access to football games and all other Division of Intercollegiate Athletics events — from $8.50 to $9.00.

Published in the Fall 2014 issue

Tags: Athletics, Badger, Campus history, football, Student life

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