I've been thinking a lot this year about the empty seats in the lower half of Haas that occurred at every game. I feel like everyone is in agreement that it is frustrating and that something should be done about it. But nothing is being done, and unless Cal tries something different, it's going to continue indefinitely. Just calling people and telling them we'd like them to use their seats isn't going to work. I hope this is one of the top items on Ashwin Puri's must get done list.
My idea is a simple one- have a Ticket Exchange run through the Calbears.com website. Season ticket holders could put their seats up for sale in realtime on the website, and for any price they want. The natural laws of supply and demand would cause, for example, the UCLA and Stanford games to be priced higher by the seller, while a Wash St game will be priced pretty low. A buyer would be able to select the exact seats he wants, pay a $2 dollar fee to Cal to cover costs, have assurances that everything is legit since it's all through the University, the buyer could either print tickets at home or have them at will call, and the seller wouldn't have to deal with any hassles or mail any tickets (their current tickets would be electronically voided when they are reissued), and the funds could be credited by Cal to the season ticket holder's account on record.
I think the SF Giants did this (I'm not sure if they still do this), and I know other Professional sports teams have some iteration of this idea.
I believe there may be a Ticket Relay already in place at Cal, but the problem is that a season ticket holder would have to find a buyer on their own, which clearly hasn't been enough incentive to get the seats sold/filled. A Ticket Exchange would eliminate this problem by matching up buyers and sellers.
I would love for someone to poke holes in this idea and tell me why this isn't smart or can't happen. The only thing I can think of is that Stubhub is a sponsor, and they decreed it illegal for Cal to do this since it would be competing? I would normally be fine with Stubhub providing this service, BUT IT'S NOT WORKING. The lower seats are clearly not being sold/bought, so the Stubhub angle is a failure. I think the combination of Stubhub being a 3rd party website that people perhaps don't 100% trust or don't know about, the high fees it charges (15% and 10% for buyers and sellers?), and the hassle of mailing tickets instead of Cal handling everything has made it hard to make this a solution.
If the Stubhub advertising dollars is the reason Cal doesn't have a Ticket Exchange, I'd like to know how much is the actual dollar amount we are saving in order to sell our soul and have a half empty arena. It is silly that night after night the best seats in the house are empty, and I want to find a tangible solution. Just coming up with reasons why we can't try a particular idea is not the way to solve problems. We need to come up with a solution and then work through all the problems that are associated with it so that we can make it work.
As I see it, the Ticket Exchange is a Win-Win-Win-Win-Win. Buyers get better seats, buyers like myself would go to many more games if for a reasonable price I didn't have to sit in the rafters, sellers would gain money for unused tickets, the ATO would look like geniuses, Haas would be rocking.
I encourage people to tell me where I'm wrong. And if someone has a better solution, by all means let's hear and consider that instead.
-Frustrated Bear Who Simply Wants My Alma Mater To Be Even Better Than It Is