Harvard-Yale ticket sales fall

Students selling Harvard-Yale apparel in Commons Rotunda, on Cross Campus and in residential colleges have seen a decrease in sales this year compared to last.
Students selling Harvard-Yale apparel in Commons Rotunda, on Cross Campus and in residential colleges have seen a decrease in sales this year compared to last. Photo by Leah Motzkin.

While tickets for the Harvard-Yale football game sold out in a matter of days the last two times it was held in Cambridge, 250 student tickets were left unsold this year by the time sales ended Wednesday.

Of the roughly 3,100 tickets Harvard allotted to Yale students this year, 2,550 were purchased by students and an additional 300 for students’ guests, said Jeremy Makins, associate athletic director of Ticket and Rink Operations at Yale Athletics. In 2008 and 2010, the last two times Harvard hosted the game, the Yale ticket office sold out their allotted student tickets — roughly 2,750 and 3,100, respectively — within five days of going on sale, Makins said.

“It hasn’t been a rush like normal,” said Andrew Breault, assistant at the ticket office, adding that he has not seen lines snaking out the door of the Ray Tompkins House, where tickets are sold, as there have been in past years.

Student groups selling Harvard-Yale apparel in Commons Rotunda, on Cross Campus and in residential college dining halls have felt a similar decrease in sales this year compared to last year.

As of Wednesday night, the Freshman College Council, which makes the official Harvard-Yale shirts each year to fund Freshman Screw and other freshman activities, had sold 430 of the 600 shirts they ordered. FCC Chair William Sadock ’16 said students were so enthusiastic about the shirts last year that the council had to place a second T-shirt order and sold a total of 850 shirts. Maia Eliscovich ’16, a member of the FCC, said the group did not sell as many shirts on the first night as it had anticipated. Eliscovich said she attributes this year’s decrease in sales to the fact that the game will not take place at Yale, adding that she does not have data for 2010 sales.

Michelle Taylor ’13, chair of the Yale Record, said that this year, the publication “has had a bit more trouble convincing people to buy our shirts,” which the Record staff sells every year to raise funds to offset its printing costs. Taylor added that in years when the game is not at Yale, it has been harder to sell shirts, though she did not have specific numbers from past years available. With only two days of sales remaining until the game, the Record has yet to break even, said Jack Newsham ’14, a former Opinion Editor for the News who is the publisher of the Yale Record.

AIESEC, which sold 500 Harvard-Yale shirts when it first began selling shirts last year, has sold 80 of the 200 shirts ordered this fall, said Raymond Zhu ’16, who runs T-shirt sales for AIESEC. He added that the group will continue to sell shirts until Friday.

Though members of the ticket office declined to speculate on the change in sales this year, students interviewed who did not purchase tickets cited the hassle and expense of travel to Boston along with the likely loss for Yale as reasons for not attending the game. Last year, approximately 3,600 Harvard students bought tickets to the the game at Yale — roughly 1,000 more than the number of Yale students who bought tickets for the game at Harvard this year — despite the cost of transportation and game tickets.

Joshua El-Bey ’16 said the $20 ticket fee, along with transportation costs, made him decide not to attend the game.

“It just didn’t seem worth it, since we are probably going to lose,” he said.

Breault, the ticket office assistant, said the $20 ticket fare for Yale students is typical, adding that Harvard charged students the same price in 2010. Though Harvard students were only charged $15 to come to the game at Yale last year, Breault said that ticket prices for Harvard students next year will probably increase to $20.

Haining Wang ’16, who cited the costs associated with the game as her main deterrent from going, said that she also does not want to sleep “on the floor of some common room” at Harvard.

Five students interviewed said they chose not to attend the game because flights home out of Boston Logan Airport are more expensive and less convenient than those out of airports closer to Yale.

Pedro Rolon ’14 said he decided not to go to the game, though he went his freshman year, because plane tickets home to Puerto Rico are roughly $100 cheaper from JFK than from Logan.

The 129th Harvard-Yale football game will begin at noon in Harvard Stadium on Nov. 17.

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