June 7, 2012
By Jon Cooper
As the clock wound down, there was a nervous excitement in the air.
Michael Randall, class of ’76, and Michael Spears, class of ’85, both long-time season-ticket holders had waited for this moment. Now it was only seconds away.
They looked around the room, with smiles starting to break through, but both holding off until it was official.
At last, it was done!!!
A “Confirm purchase” window popped up on the computer screen. Randall reached for the mouse, moved the arrow into position and clicked the proper box. Within seconds the two green blips on the screen turned purple, then blue.
He had his season tickets for McCamish Pavilion for the 2012-13 Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball season.
Okay, maybe the atmosphere inside the Georgia Tech Ticket Office was a tad less dramatic.
But the idea of reserving good seats for the brand new, state-of-the-art arena in anticipation of the coming season with just a few clicks (and a little patience) is exciting.
Season-ticket holders and fans that got on a special reservation list during March and April have discovered that.
Tech fans have the opportunity to select their tickets without even leaving home. They simply need to visit a special 3D seating diagram of McCamish Pavilion. Created by Ballena Technologies, Inc., the seat-selection system is used by professional leagues like NFL, the NBA, the NHL, and MLS, NASCAR, and colleges — the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and Georgia State are among local clients.
“It’s really been well received by people, especially from the seat-selection side,” said Georgia Tech Director of Ticket Operations Maja Hansen. “People have selected, on their own, through the on-line process. We’ve had people call to get some assistance, help them walk through, answer questions about where the benches are, some different sight-line questions. We have some people who are out of the country, unable to select, who have signed a proxy and have essentially given us the authorization to select their seats at their time. It’s been a great process thus far. We’re through less than 300 people, but it’s gone well so far.”
It’s as simple as going to the seat selection website (click here) and logging in. If you’re not a season-ticket holder, you can still get a look at available seating by clicking on View Live. An overhead diagram of the Pavilion floor will come up. Click on an area, then a seat where you’d want to sit (green seats are available, red are taken). As you drag over a seat a price window will pop up, along with a box to the right that reads “Seats View” and that row. Click the seat again and you’ll get a relatively good view of the court from that seat.
The seat-selection process is in its infancy but the overall feedback has been positive.
“I think it’s a fantastic tool,” said Hansen. “We’ve received a lot of positive feedback from folks, knowing they don’t have the opportunity to walk inside a facility that’s 100 percent completed.”
Of course, the system isn’t perfect and can be intimidating.
“I had a difficult time. I’m not a computer guy,” admitted Spears. “My son would have figured it out but I got very frustrated.”
For those that don’t have the time to walk in to the ticket office, there is an instructional video that is sent upon registering. The how-to instructions are read by Voice of the Yellow Jackets, Wes Durham.
“It was nice to have someone from the family to be able to read that,” Hansen said. “Wes is like everybody’s dad or brother. You hear his voice and you know, `That’s Wes.'”
Randall, who couldn’t call his son last week — Hudson had business to attend to with the University of Florida Baseball team at the NCAA Tournament Gainesville Regional — found the Durham-read tutorial helpful but the architect was still somewhat uneasy by virtual part of the process.
“I’d rather still do it in the stadium,” he said. “That view is not from that individual seat. That view is from the whole section. It’s just not the same as being able to go in there and sit in the seat and feel it and look at it.”
“The hardest part is the part that people can’t see, feel and touch the facility,” she said. “That’s been the ultimate challenge but I do think it’s a fantastic tool. The challenge is it’s virtual. It’s not the same but it’s as close as you can get without being there physically.”
In the end, Spears and Randall left the ticket office secure in having purchased the seats they wanted and feeling satisfied in having all their questions about the process answered.
This early seat-selection will run through June 28th.
Not only are good seats available for the men’s slate of 17 games, the price is a bargain at $330 — only $30 more than tickets for Tech’s 10 Conference games at Philips last season and $105 less than complete ’11-12 seasons. Fans of women’s hoops will want to jump on the opportunity to get good seats for ’12-13 Tech Women’s hoops, which features the home opener against Tennessee. Lower level sideline seats are only $50 until July 1.
“It’s a tremendous thing to be moving into a new facility,” said Hansen. “Coming off the success the women are having, they open up with Tennessee, which is huge. Coach Gregory is doing great things for the men’s program. They have a terrific recruiting class coming in. So it’s like the perfect storm, if you will, for real positive things to happen for both the men and the women.”