When GC Campus Life announced they sold out of Homecoming Concert tickets on Feb. 21, students lacking tickets flocked to the Bobcat Exchange Facebook group, where students who had bought tickets from Campus Life for $5 were reselling them for sums often 10 or 12 times the original price.
Despite the surplus of demand, Campus Life could not sell more Homecoming tickets because they could not allow more students to attend the concert.
“The school’s university fire marshal gives us a cap for every building,” said Drew Bruton, GC’s Homecoming Concert chair. “The cap for Centennial is 4,089, so that’s the amount they let into the building.”
Each year, GC sells 4,089 Homecoming concert tickets. 150 are allocated specifically for alumni, and the rest are for students, faculty, staff and community members.
“We sold all 4,089 tickets,” Bruton said. “It seems that when we have an R&B or rap artist, they’ve sold out. And anytime that we have not, it hasn’t.”
This year’s Homecoming Concert had the highest attendance rate yet, with 3,894 of the 4,089 ticket holders attending the concert. Despite this, many students were unable to obtain tickets.
“I think they should make a way to buy tickets electronically,” said sophomore Hannah Peeler, an english major. “More students wouldn’t wait till the last minute if they could buy them from their phones.”
The Homecoming Concert previously took place on West Campus, allowing for larger crowds since there isn’t a fire safety regulation. But winter weather conditions led Campus Life to move the concert indoors.
“Some years it was really cold, like 30 degrees,” said Jonathan Meyer, Campus Life’s assistant director for business operations. “It was raining, and it just killed the crowd because no one wants to stand out in freezing temperatures and get rained on no matter who plays, which led to the decision to move it indoors probably seven or eight years ago.”
Because the Centennial Center is the largest building on campus, Campus Life has considered moving the concert off campus to a larger facility to reduce the selling out of tickets. However, they decided it would affect concert operations too much.
“We want to keep it on campus because we have jurisdiction over our own facilities when it comes to the operations of it, the staffing,” Meyer said. “From building managers, to electricians, to public safety, to building services and custodians, all of those things are done in house and when we have it on campus and in our facilities, it makes coordinating those different groups a lot easier than having it in a different place.”
Meyer said the Student Affairs Office might look into personalizing tickets or making them non-transferable to prevent resale, but it may not be logistically possible.
“We would have to order 7,000 tickets because you’re going to assume that every student is going to have a customized ticket with his or her name on it because you’re not going to know who is and isn’t going to purchase a ticket,” Meyer said. “Then you’ll have to have some generic ones for alumni, community members, or faculty and staff who may want to attend. Logistically, we would have to look into how exactly it would work and ultimately how much it would cost.”
Some students, upset about having to pay up to 12 times the original price for a Homecoming ticket, said the scalping is a violation of the school’s honor code, but Meyer said it is allowed.
“It is not illegal to scalp a ticket,” Meyer said. “It would be one thing if students were selling tickets outside of Centennial the night of the concert. When someone is selling their ticket through Bobcat Exchange, we really don’t have any jurisdiction over a voluntary transaction between two individuals.”