Many colleges have made the switch to electronic ticketing, if only temporarily, to keep contact to a minimum during the pandemic, but Oklahoma State University went virtual with its All Sports Pass for students in fall 2019. Now, the Cowboys are facing a new concern — fraud.
As reported by student newspaper The O'Colly, OSU announced this spring that the All Sports Pass was moving to SafeTix, a ticket service through Ticketmaster focused on preventing ticket fraud through new technology.
“We just don’t want anyone taking advantage of the situation at the expense of someone else,” said Payton Phillips, director of strategic marketing and ticket sales since 2019.
The old digital All Sports Pass featured a square barcode that remained the same from download through game day, allowing students to simply screenshot their ticket and send it to somebody else for entry into games. Students could sell the screenshots, too, including to opposing fans.
“You’re not supposed to be able to do that,” athletic director Mike Holder said.
SafeTix is different in that its barcode changes constantly, so a barcode that was valid five seconds ago won’t work anymore, according to The O'Colly. Once the ticket is downloaded, the only way for the barcode to reappear is by getting close to a scanner.
Athletic department officials took exception with students taking advantage of the All Sports Pass, which is valued at more than $1,000. The OSU ticket office deemed transferring tickets as going against spirit of the agreement.
“It's an extremely discounted ticket,” said Andy Sumrall, director of fan service and ticket operations. “If you were to buy the cheapest season ticket for all the sports that you get as an All Sports Pass holder, I believe it comes out to about $1700-$1800, and students are getting that same thing for $250.”
During football and basketball season, prices were as high as $300 for a single ticket — enough to cover the annual price of the pass, the O'Colly reported.
“We need to make sure that students aren’t taking advantage of that discount, because the student has gotten an opportunity to buy it at a steeply discounted price relative to market value, so they get a chance to profit a lot,” Phillips said.
A second concern involved passes selling out, including to individuals with no desire to attend games but only to play the resale market, thus leaving high and dry students with a legitimate desire to see the Cowboys play in person. “Now you’re stuck either not coming or buying from basically a broker at that point,” Phillips said.
“The All Sports Pass is for students, it’s not for anybody else to get in and sit in the student section,” Sumrall said. “It’s a special rate for you coming to Oklahoma State. It’s our way of saying thanks for coming to OSU and helping build the atmosphere.”