Liberty’s Ticket Office Creates Lottery System for Fans to Attend Football Games
As the Liberty Flames took on the Florida International University Panthers Sept. 26, things were different than normal in Williams Stadium. The stadium capacity has been reduced because of COVID-19 regulations in Virginia, allowing only 1,000 fans into the stands on game day.
The 1,000 seats were allotted to family members of players and staff first – then season ticket holders – with the remaining tickets distributed to students through a lottery system. However, with the marching band and cheerleaders included in that 1,000-person quota, attending football games is now much harder for the average student.
Through the athletic department and the Student Government Association, a lottery was formed to determine which students will be able to take a seat in the bleachers. Robert Goodman, associate athletic director for marketing and ticket sales, helped oversee the creation of the lottery.
“(The system) was designed to provide a fair and equitable opportunity for Liberty students to have access to attend football games,” Goodman said.
The process for each week’s lottery will be roughly the same. The Monday before Saturday’s football game, an email was sent to students with an entry form attached. The results of the drawing were announced Wednesday.
“(The process) was super easy with clear directions,” junior Isabelle Castle said. “I plan to keep entering until I win.”
To keep football games a community experience, winners receive a pair of tickets, so a friend or roommate can tag along.
One fortunate pair of Liberty football fans included senior Caleb Utz, who was selected to attend the Flames home opener against FIU and chose to bring his friend Evan Otterholt along with him.
“I felt really good (to be selected) because I am a senior, so I didn’t know if I was going to be able to go to another game for free,” Utz said. “I didn’t know that I was going to be able to bring somebody along too, so then I thought it (was) cool to get to bring a friend along as well.”
Regarding his experience at the game, Utz said that although the normal college football atmosphere – with screaming fans and loud stadiums – was definitely missing, he enjoyed the chilled ambience in Williams Stadium.
Taking in the game became more like sitting at home in his living room, while still being up close to the players on the field.
“For me, as a fan who loves the game, it was great,” Utz said. “If I could go to every game, I’d want it just like that because I can hear everything. I could hear the away coaches, I could hear – even from the student section (on the opposite side of the field) – the home coaches. I could hear what the quarterbacks were saying on the field.”
For students who do not win the lottery for game tickets, Student Activities has planned events to liven up the autumn afternoons. They will be holding socially-distant watch parties on the Commons Lawn – with pizza, T-shirts and other prizes available.
Sarah Williams is a Sports Reporter.