UNC Campus Life: The Art of First Row Risers


Editors Note: With great pleasure I’d like to introduce you to Keeping It Heel’s New Campus Life Writer Michael Hardison.  Michael is a sophomore at UNC and will bring us a student view of the great Tar Heels.

The first thing anyone needs to know about UNC students is that we do not sleep in tents for basketball tickets.  That’s for the other school down the way in Durham and UNC students’ time is better spent working on the world’s problems than “wasting time in a tent” (and that’s Chancellor Thorp speaking, not me).  While I do think tenting is ridiculous and reserved only for those with a telling lack of social lives, UNC’s lottery system is an enigma. Many diehard UNC fans have tried and failed to win tickets to the season’s biggest games, while some students, unaware of who Roy Williams is or what ACC stands for, end up winning Phase 1 (these are the best tickets in the three phase system) to three games in a row.  There is no fairness in our system, no reward system for loyalty or fandom, only chance. However, this doesn’t need to stop anyone from attending every game and receiving the best seats.

There is a system that has been created in response to UNC’s system; a crafted method of being in the first row for each game.  Before you dismiss this as blind optimism and the stuff of legend, know this: I’ve won one set of Phase 1 tickets to NC State and one set of Phase 2 tickets to the Clemson game.  Despite this, I’ve stood in the front row for ten games (it will be eleven on Saturday), been on television every time, and developed such a repertoire with ESPN’s camera-man, that we may or may not have a handshake.

The key to basketball tickets relies on setting up different groups of people and then having your basketball “partner.” Your partner is the person you’re going to give your ticket to—you know it, they know it, and your friends know it.  The opposite as true, if they win, you win.  This already increases your chances twofold.  The next key is having two or three different groups of people that you take responsibility for reminding them of lottery sign ups. Be the guy (or girl) that sets up reminders, sends out emails, Facebook messages people minutes before the deadline but make sure they sign up.  Depending on the size of the groups, this increases your range into dozens of people.  What’s the reasoning behind this? The people that win tickets remember that you were the one that reminded them.  With all of these people associating you with basketball, you’re their go to choice to bring to games.  So while you may win two lotteries a year, people remember that a) you helped them win your tickets and b) you want that extra ticket.

After receiving hopefully a Phase 1 ticket, the rest of the riser process is relatively easy—security lets people in line in about an hour and a half before the game.  I suggest getting to the line about four or five hours before it starts.  While it may sound ridiculous, you spend about half that time indoors and if you bring friends, the rest of the wait isn’t bad.  This would virtually guarantee you front row risers for all but the Duke game, not to mention the envy/admiration of your friends. The front row of the risers for UNC basketball is one of the greatest college sports experiences in the nation.  So I suggest doing it as many times as you can while attending this wonderful university.
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