Edward Smith became a Temple basketball season ticket holder in his youth, about 30 years ago. Smith said he has seen some of the most famous moments in Temple history.
He witnessed Pepe Sanchez’s game-winning free throws over No. 5 Michigan State in 1998. He was there when coach John Chaney clinched his 700th career victory two seasons ago, and he saw the 1995 home upsets of No. 2 Villanova and No. 1 Kansas that occurred within a nine-day span.
Naturally, when Smith learned that he wouldn’t be able to receive his season tickets until the team’s season-opening game against Army, he decided to show up early to beat any ticket-window congestion.
“I had to leave work early so I could come pick these up,” Smith said of his tickets.
Smith was one of many season ticket-holders who were forced to pick up their tickets before the Owls’ home opener last week due to a printing delay, caused by Temple’s switch from Ticketmaster to New Era Tickets. Long lines never became an issue and several season ticket holders said they were not concerned about the inconvenience.
Leonard and Dot Sokolove, who have followed the team on the road to NCAA Tournament games at the Meadowlands, said the ticket office was very cooperative.
“No problem at all,” Leonard Sokolove said. “This happened several seasons before, and there was no problem.”
Not every fan was as completely satisfied as Sokolove. Alan and Elsa Levitt, football season ticket holders since 1944 and basketball season ticket holders since 1949, said the inconvenience was not a major concern for either of them, but a more-responsive office would translate into better sales, Elsa Levitt said.
“He feels that they would get more people to go to football and the basketball games if how you did it was better,” Elsa said, of her husband. “I mean, they’re so nonchalant. … If they were more receptive, maybe more people would buy [tickets].”
Scott Walcoff, assistant athletic director for tickets and promotions, said in a phone interview that the ticket office ran smoothly, considering it was opening night.
“Every season ticket holder whose tickets couldn’t be mailed to them was able to pick them up at the box office, and any issues that they had, we were able to deal with on a one-to-one basis,” Walcoff said.
The Liacouras Center had two Will Call lines available for season ticket pick up. From about 40 minutes prior to tip-off to about 15 minutes into the game, the lines consisted of a handful of people, but never exceeded the metal barriers.
While lines at Will Call remained short, game-day ticket lines reached nearly the width of the vestibule by game time, and remained that way until about 25 minutes into the game, when a Will Call booth was changed to a game-day booth.
Walcoff said longer-than-anticipated lines were the result of it being opening night and the number of students without the Wild Cherry package. Walcoff said National Invitation Tournament policy does not let schools give free tickets, so students had to pay to get into the game.
Several students voiced their displeasure at the flow of the lines, and the cost to get into the game.
“I think they could do a better job of channeling the kids and get them inside because the game has already started,” Mary Durnin said.
Senior John McNeal said he was annoyed that he had to pay to get into the game. He said he thought students typically were admitted free of charge.
“I think that it [stinks] that students can’t get in free because it’s an NIT game,” McNeal said. “I think my tuition should cover that.”
John Kopp can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.