Undefeated Gamecocks see high seat demand
It’s no secret that the Gamecocks and Commodores haven’t traditionally had the strongest football programs in the SEC, so it’s no surprise the matchups between the two haven’t had the draw of an Alabama-Auburn game.
Even two years ago, when a No. 23-ranked South Carolina squared off against Vanderbilt at Williams-Brice Stadium, only about 8,500 USC students requested tickets.
But this season, with championship hopes riding high for the currently No. 10-ranked Gamecocks, 12,300 students requested tickets, an increase of 3,800 requests from the last time USC hosted the Commodores.
In 2009, only 7,328 students ended up actually attending the Vanderbilt game. As of Wednesday morning, students had already claimed 9,562 tickets to Saturday’s game.
About 11,200 student tickets, the standard amount for South Carolina’s 2011 home games, were made available for this year’s bout with Vanderbilt. All of those were awarded during the initial request period. Previously, 2,000 of those tickets — the ones located in the upper deck — were supposed to have been given out during the on-demand period.
Student Ticketing changed that process after massive demand for on-demand Navy game tickets ground the online website to a halt last Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Now, all tickets for the lower and upper decks will be awarded up front and the on demand phase will only make available tickets that weren’t claimed by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.
“It was just kind of confusing, [the change] just made it easier,” Student Ticketing Coordinator Adrienne White said.
About 10,540 tickets were scanned for the Navy game, but White said that number doesn’t include the 2,000 extra tickets given to students by athletics on top of the usual 11,200. The extra cache was released after numerous complaints about USC not granting enough seats to meet demand. Over 13,000 student tickets were made available for the home season opener, but USC director of Student Services Anna Edwards said only 600 students came to Williams-Brice Stadium the afternoon of the game to pick up the extra 2,000 tickets.
Students with lower deck tickets at the Navy game were given wrist bands, and students without wrist bands weren’t allowed in the section. Yet wrist bands ran out before many of the lower deck tickets were scanned, meaning that either not enough wristbands were available or upper deck students found some way to get wrist bands and sneak into the lower deck. Many students dislike the upper deck because it has assigned seating.
Edwards said Wednesday she had no idea how the problem occurred. She said all well-behaved students with lower deck tickets who couldn’t get wrist bands were allowed to sit in the upper deck.
She said she wasn’t surprised by the number of tickets requested for the first two home games.
“It’s pretty consistent with past seasons,” Edwards said. “If you look at the cycle of ticket requests, it’s higher at the beginning of the season and drops off after Fall Break. It’s just the time of the year rather than the game.”