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UNM Athletics is all in with electronic ticketing

UNM logo.

Whether or not there will be a football season at all this fall remains a touchy subject, but whenever the games do kick-off, UNM wants fans to know it plans to take a hands-off approach.

That is at least in terms of getting spectators in and out of Dreamstyle Stadium for football games and later Dreamstyle Arena – the Pit for men’s and women’s basketball games.

UNM will move toward contactless ticketing – primarily using smart phones instead of the hard copy tickets of old – for entry into the three primary revenue sports at the university this coming school year. UNM hopes the process not only addresses safety concerns in the ever-changing coronavirus landscape everyone is still navigating, but also that it simply streamlines a process that at times has led to frustrations.

“This was always the plan, and something we actually started last year once we transitioned to the Paciolan (ticketing) system,” said UNM deputy athletic director Dave Williams. “It was just an option last year. It has just become the trend nationally with COVID-19 and everything that it entails that contactless anything is the best way to go.

“We just have a way of doing it because of Paciolan, and so we’re going to pull the trigger and ask our fans to be contactless as much as possible.”

Of course, UNM is aware the ways of 2020 – pandemic or not – are not the familiar ways of the past. And the fan support for UNM athletics, especially a large percentage of season-ticket holders for both men’s and women’s basketball, may skew toward an older, less open to technology base.

More bluntly, UNM knows some older fans may not like the change.

“We’ll figure out a way to work with everyone,” Williams said. “But the hope (is that) fans understand this is the direction not only us, but everyone is going to for a variety of reasons.”

Williams said the department is researching ways to do contactless concession stand transactions and even looking into how to do so with parking for events – a task that has largely been a cash transaction process for as long as there have been Lobo athletics.

UNM is asking fans to download tickets in advance of games and save them on their phones in either their Apple Wallet or Google Pay app – applications that can save the scannable, digital images of the tickets – even if there are problems opening emails at the gate.

On that front, however, Williams noted that the Pit has had fan-available WiFi for several years and new WiFi hubs were installed at the gates at Dreamstyle Stadium last year for this very purpose.

Electronic ticketing also allows easier sharing of unused tickets (they can now be emailed or texted to other people), though once a ticket is scanned, it is in the system as having been used. So there is no change to the no re-entry policy and no opening for one ticket being used by multiple people.

The move is also expected to save “about $10,000” for both football and basketball at UNM by bypassing the printing and then mailing out season tickets in advance of the season, said Williams. That process, one that is largely a memento type venture as even season ticket holders have long had access to electronic versions of their tickets, entailed contracting with a printer and having sales completed six to eight weeks in advance to have time to print, sort and mail to customers.

In addition to the cost savings for UNM, the department now can have a couple more months of flexibility for sales of season tickets, helpful in this uncertain time about what the season will actually allow attendance wise.

Anyone with questions – today or when the season and ticketing process to enter games begins in earnest next season – can contact UNM’s ticketing office by phone at (505) 925-LOBO (5626), via email at lobotickets@unm.edu or in person at the UNM ticket office Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

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