High School Ticketing Transformation is Long Overdue
I recently read a case study about Amtrak. Amtrak is a national rail operator with 21,000 route miles in 46 states and operates more than 300 trains each day. Amtrak had a problem: they carry over 31 million passengers a year, but had very little information on who was riding on their trains.
Amtrak’s ticketing system was an archaic paper-based process. It still required a conductor to collect all of the tickets, punch and sort them, and then mail them to a central location to sort through so they could reconcile them a couple weeks after the transaction occurred. It took a lot of time, it wasn’t very efficient, and definitely not user- friendly.
The more I read, the more I thought that there were similarities between Amtrak and their paper-based process and the current paper ticket situation at high schools.
Not only is the high school paper ticketing situation cumbersome and time-consuming, we also unfortunately read stories about school administrators or individuals from the booster clubs who have embezzled money from their schools.
For example, an article was written in the Washington Post about a lady from Virginia who had a reputation for being very trustworthy. In fact, an Upstate New York newspaper once anointed her the “queen” of high school rowing, noting that “throughout it all, she had done the job gratis, never getting a paycheck for the hours and hours of e-mails, phone calls and conversations, pleasant and some not so pleasant, with coaches through the years.” “It’s full-time plus,” she was quoted as saying. “I don’t have time for a paying job.”
Then came the shock, the Virginia association received an e-mail from a sporting goods company complaining that a $38,000 bill had gone unpaid for more than a year. Confronted by other rowing club officers over brunch, she protested through tears that she had paid the obligation long ago…
However, records showed that over the years, thousands of dollars of the association’s money had been spent on clothing, car repairs, flowers, airfare, and thousands more had been withdrawn from the bank. Eventually she pleaded guilty to two counts of embezzlement and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Situations like this oftentimes occur as too many people are involved in high school events. Most of them would never even be tempted to take money from their program, but schools can no longer afford to even give people the opportunity. High school ticketing remains for most institutions a very manual process and in their mind, not an area that needs improvement.
However, I think that changes on how schools operate and collect money will need to be updated sooner rather than later. This is not only for sporting events, but also for money collected for performing arts, class reunions, homecoming, etc. Schools and state associations can’t continue to operate in a cash business.
The other big concern besides the financial accountability for high schools is safety, a problem that is twofold. First is the issue of conducting cash transactions at athletic or other school events. Secondly, there is a safety concern at schools that are required to keep their doors open during the week to sell tickets to the public. They need to find a way to have less people roaming the halls of their school.
In the near term future, I truly believe that schools will be mandated to have better financial accountability and forced to improve their safety by knowing who is in their stadiums or schools at any given time. They need to be proactive about finding a solution to make this happen. The time is now for a more up-to-date ticketing solution for high schools, big and small from across the country to use.
About the Author:
Patrick Spear is an original co-founder of Home Team Marketing. Patrick’s main responsibility is to help high schools generate more revenue by introducing them to HTM’s proprietary SponsorRoar and TicketRoar platforms.