Fans’ tips can snare stadium seat switchers
We have been University of Hawaii football season-ticket subscribers since the old Honolulu Stadium and have had season tickets in Section JJ, Blue section, since Aloha Stadium opened in 1974. As supporters of the UH athletic program, we do not mind paying extra for premium seating. However, the premium we pay for this privilege has become a farce. We are assessed $200 per seat for this "privilege" and it costs our family of six $1,200 per season. The problem is that people buying cheap tickets have been invading the premium-seat sections in greater numbers because stadium ushers do not monitor the situation. There is one entrance for the premium Blue sections and the cheaper Orange sections. Once the fans pass through this entrance, no one monitors the entrance to the Blue section. I even overheard an usher urging Orange section fans to go up to the Blue section because there are empty seats there! The stadium manager told me there is nothing he can do. An assistant athletic director gave me a stadium phone number to call when I see a violation. However, this goes on throughout each game and I can't call every time this happens. These moochers use their cell phones to wave to and call their friends over from the cheap seats all through the game. If the stadium and UH athletic officials are unable to enforce the seating policy, they should eliminate premium-seat pricing altogether. Can you do anything to help us, as there must be other premium sections with this problem?
Answer: The answer we got was the same one given to you: You have to let stadium officials know every time you witness someone sneaking into the premium section.
Realizing people may not want to be seen complaining to ushers, you are given the option of calling security at 483-2806 and doing so more discreetly.
The problem is that there just aren't enough ushers to monitor the situation and check to make sure that everyone is properly seated, said Aloha Stadium Manager Scott Chan.
And it's just not realistic to expect ushers to check that everyone is sitting where they should be, he said.
So "we don't know if a violation has taken place unless someone reports it to us," he said.
Don't hesitate to do so if you want to curb the practice.
Once officials receive a report, "then we'll go out and check the tickets," Chan said. "If they don't have the proper tickets, we'll ask them to leave."
He explained that ushers are stationed at "vomitories" to make sure only people with tickets to specific sections -- Orange and Blue in one area, for example -- are allowed in.
("Vomitories" are descriptive, to say the least. They are entrances, from the Latin word relating to the "disgorging" of spectators from a large facility, such as a theater, amphitheater or stadium.
(There are four main sections that the stadium's seats are divided into: mauka, makai, north and south. Each section has six vomitories leading to them).
If you have a valid ticket for a particular section, you will be allowed in.
Once in, "you have the run of the whole section," Chan said. "So, just because you come in through (section) KK doesn't mean you're not going to end up in FF."
Because of that, as you noted, once these ticketholders get past ushers at the vomitories, there's really no one to check whether they are, in fact, going to their assigned seats.
There are only a few ushers assigned to the entire inner concourse walkway and they're mainly concerned with keeping the area clear, as well as to assist those who might need help, Chan said.
Because of costs, it isn't possible to station an usher at every section and to check every ticket, he said. As it is, three ushers are assigned to each vomitory (although the number depends on who shows up for work), plus two to three in the inner concourse.
"There are way too many people for us to try and monitor every single seat," Chan said.
"Serving our customers is our No. 1 priority and we try to do our best," he said, but asks that you and other fans help officials to monitor the situation.
Got a question or complaint?
Call 529-4773, fax 529-4750, or write to Kokua Line, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu 96813. As many as possible will be answered. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
. See also: Useful phone numbers