When Olivia Tomkinson sat in line for tickets she expected great seats for Saturday’s basketball game against Duke.
When she got her tickets after waiting in line for 15 hours during Morning Madness she did get great seats for Duke- front row seats, in fact.
But when she got to the game her seat was anything but great, it wasn’t even a seat. Tomkinson a Temple freshman, along with about 80 other students, had to be moved due to a seating error at the First Union Center.
Tomkinson wound up watching the game sitting on an armrest in the arena, far from the front row seat she had expected.
“When I went and got my tickets and it said row A I was so excited,” Tomkinson said. “That’s what made it worthwhile: to have good seats for a big game.”
With the game being played at the First Union Center, instead of Temple’s Liacouras Center, different arrangements had to be made concerning placement of the Temple band.
At first, the arena set aside 88 spaces in the back of section 108 of the arena, according to Director of Advertising, Promotions and Ticket Sales Zach Conen.
Because the band couldn’t set up all of its instruments in that spot they were moved to the front. The seats they were put in were originally given to Tomkinson and other Temple students who waited in line for season tickets at Morning Madness. About 30 ticket holders got to sit directly behind the band, but others had to move behind people who they were in front of in line to buy tickets.
Tomkinson was third in line that night, but when she got to the game she was in for a surprise.
When she entered she was given another ticket and told to sit in the new spot. The new location, in section 108, row 24, wasn’t what she expected. So, instead she sneaked down and spent the game on an armrest.
“It was a goof up on our part,” Conen said. “I thought we did a fair (job) of handling it.”
Conen had a lot to worry about leading up to the game. Aside from finding a spot for the band, Conen was in charge of making sure there was seating for 19, 455 basketball fans. The attendance, the highest in Pennsylvania history for a college basketball game, was dispersed all over the First Union Center- from the armrests to the upper level press boxes.
“It was nice…we were surprised the way the game took hold and picked up steam as we went on,” Conen said. “It exceeded our wildest expectations.”
Temple had to sell some people seats in the hockey press box high above the floor at the arena. The place was literally packed to see Temple get beaten by the No. 1-ranked Blue Devils, 93-68.
Not all of the fans were Temple fans, however. It was a largely bi-partisan crowd filled with Blue Devil fans, alumni and students alike. Every point scored, whether by Temple or Duke, was met with loud, voracious cheers. According to Conen, 1,700 seats were issued to Duke University, but countless other Duke fans got in via Ticketmaster and by other means.
But the students whose seats were displaced by the band took no solace in the amount of people there to watch the game. Temple freshman Kevin McAlpin is one of the 50 or so students who had to move to the back of section 108.
McAlpin, decked out in a white T-shirt with “Duke Sucks” painted in blue on it, was extremely displeased, especially when an usher gave him a new ticket.
“I asked what’s the deal with that,” McAlpin, who was 20th in line at Morning Madness, said. “He basically told us it was a miscommunication. I was like, ‘this is ridiculous.'”
“I’m still mad, it still would have been cool to sit in the front. I’m a little frustrated. I want to go the athletic department and talk to somebody.”
Tomkinson did just that during the game itself. She missed most of the first half while trying to determine what went wrong and arguing. She wound up at guest services; there they told her there was nothing they could do with regards to the game. But they did give her free tickets for next Thursday’s game against Wisconsin at the Liacouras Center.
But when Tomkinson went to pick up the tickets this week, she was anything but happy. The tickets are reserved for her in row Q in section 108 of the Liacouras Center- seats she can sit in anyway with her season pass.
“That’s not row A that’s row Q. It’s not a good enough reimbursement,” she said.
Conen hoped that the tickets would be enough for angry students- for Tomkinson it wasn’t.
“Anybody who was really angry we told to comeback (to the athletic office),” Conen said. “We tried to accommodate them in any way we could.”
When McAlpin, whose seat for the Duke game was originally in row F, found out about the reimbursement, he too was mad.
“That’s ridiculous,” McAlpin said, “that’s pretty (dumb). I’d rather go early and get good seats.”
Tomkinson says she would buy tickets again, but she won’t forget what happened last Saturday.
“I was very angry because I felt like Temple let me down,” she said. “Temple promised me the best seats because I was third in line…I will never forget this.”
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