Football Tickets, ID Cards and Mass Notification: There Is a Connection

The University of Alabama has leveraged the functionality of its voice, text and E-mail emergency alerting program and student ID card program to more efficiently sell and distribute football game tickets to students.

Emergency Alert System Communicates With Waitlisted Students
My Football Ticket was a success from the outset of the 2008 season, but it became clear UA still needed an efficient, timely way to reach students who had received a donated ticket on game day. Tickets were often donated right before a game, and reaching waitlisted students was difficult.

“People make last-minute decisions not to attend, so a lot of students do not know until the morning of the game they’ve received a ticket,” says Brooks. “We were sending E-mails to notify them, but students weren’t always near a computer.”


To notify students in urgent situations, such as the tornado that struck near the Tuscaloosa campus in April 2011, the university uses the Blackboard Connect service to send critical information through voice, text and E-mail messages. Administrators decided to integrate use of their existing Blackboard Connect service to help facilitate outreach regarding available tickets.

“We were looking to identify other ways to use the Connect system because it’s such a wonderful product,” Brooks says. “We now use the Connect system to quickly reach waitlisted students before a game. If you received a donated ticket, you still receive an E-mail but you also get a phone call.”

Students Thank UA for New Ticket System
UA’s creative integration of the Blackboard Transact and Blackboard Connect platforms to improve the game day process has enhanced student attendance and students satisfaction. Since 2008, there have been more than 500,000 hits to the system with 31,388 tickets donated to other students electronically.

After the Blackboard Connect platform was added, Brooks notes that “Students have actually
called, thanking us. We get calls saying, ‘I just got this call about a ticket. Is it true? Is it real?’ Students are excited. Without the phone call, they might not have known they had received a ticket.”

Taking the ticket process online, then adding real-time notification, also conformed to how students use technology today.

Related Article: Your Mass Notification Cheat Sheet

“Students actually view E-mail as an older form of communication,” Brooks explains. “They consider a phone call or text more instantaneous than E-mail. As far as students are concerned, E-mail is not their primary mode of communication. Phone calls and texts are. With My Football Ticket — and the Blackboard platforms — we’ve met student expectations, streamlined processes, enhanced self-service options, and the Connect product allows us to reach so many more people.” 

University of Alabama’s Action Card Functionalities

  • Student Identification
  • Debit
  • Library
  • Residence Hall Access Control
  • My Football Ticket (and other athletic events)
  • Dining Hall Privileges
  • Gym
  • Parking
  • Printing and Copies
  • Bookstore
  • Gas
  • Laundry
  • Restaurants

Campus at a Glance:

Founded in 1831, the University of Alabama is a public institution located in Tuscaloosa, Ala. More than 30,000 students attend the school. While certainly known for the caliber of its athletics program — the Crimson Tide team won the 2009 national football championship — the university also has a strong academic tradition. For 10 years in a row, UA has been ranked among the nation’s top 50 public universities by U.S. News and World Report.  In addition, the university ranks among the top 10 public universities in the nation in the enrollment of National Merit Scholars.

Travis Sowders is the senior manager for product marketing and public relations for Blackboard Connect. Gina Kilker is the marketing communications manager for Blackboard Transact.

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