The University of Alabama hasn’t been pulling-in the amount of fans to football games than they would have hoped. So, in an attempt to fill more seats and provide motivation, the school revealed a new loyalty points program. The catch? It tracks students’ location.
Recently, during the school’s home opener game against New Mexico state, the school launched its Tide Loyalty Points app. Students who use the app will be tracked based on their location to see if they attend a game and how long they stay for. Once checking in to a game, the student will receive points, and the longer they stay, the more points they’ll receive. Students who have the most points at the end of the season will have a better chance at securing tickets to the SEC championship and College Football Playoffs.
Yet, is it worth the price of having their privacy violated?
In an interview with the New York Times, a lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Adam Schwartz, said it was “alarming” that a public university was tracking where their students are going and it is “innapropriate” to offer such an initiative in return for students to give up their privacy.
“Why should packing the stadium in the fourth quarter be the last time the government wants to know where students are?” Schwartz said. “A public university is a teacher, telling students what is proper in a democratic society.”
While some students are concerned about privacy, Alabama’s Athletic Director Greg Byrne told the Times that these concerns rarely came up when the program was being discussed.
During the rollout at the home opener, students had issues opening their apps, leading to several lines and chaos in the 100-degree heat. However, since Tuesday night, Alabama reportedly made several changes to the app. The app creator, FanMaker, plans to boost capacity for the team’s next game this weekend against Southern Mississippi, allowing students to receive 350 points if they had swiped their student card to enter last week’s New Mexico game. Additionally, those who showed up and then had to leave due to unsafe weather conditions will still receive full credit.
Alabama Crimson Tide will take on Southern Mississippi next this Saturday, followed by games against Mississippi, Texas A&M, Tennessee, and Arkansas in the coming weeks. Grab tickets to a game this season via Ticket Club.