New Ticket Office Opens in Holyoke Center

A new booth opening inside Holyoke Center today will allow members of the public to buy tickets to Harvard sporting events and arts performances.

The ticket office is a joint venture of Harvard and Arts/Boston, a non-profit that promotes access to the arts in eastern Massachusetts. Arts/Boston also has booths--known as BosTix--in Copley Square and in the Faneuil Hall Marketplace; both of those BosTix locations will now begin selling tickets to some Harvard events.

"This is a bigger deal than just selling tickets," said University spokesman Joe Wrinn. "[The purpose] is to expose the public to the wonderful variety of content at Harvard."

Until last June, the Harvard News Office ran a ticket booth for events around the University. But that booth was not particularly popular, and Wrinn has spent much of the past year looking for ways to help Harvard teams and performance groups market their events.

"What I've done is take the funds [from the News Office ticket booth] and transfer them to BosTix--where we can get more bang for the same bucks," he said.

Wrinn says he chose BosTix because of its previous experience in selling admissions, its connections in the area's arts community, and its non-profit status. The group offers half-price, day-of-show tickets at its locations, and it runs Tomorrow's Audiences, a program which provides free tickets to art performances for disadvantaged children.

"Our mission is to get more people to the theater by making it more affordable," said Jennifer S. Weissman, director of marketing at Arts/Boston.

Harvard's performing arts groups will not incur additional costs by selling tickets through BosTix. Ticket buyers, though, will pay a small surcharge--an extra $3 on a $30 ticket--to cover the costs of running the booth.

"We're really there to make money for the groups," Weissman said.

Wrinn said he expected BosTix to be especially helpful for smaller, "shoe box" groups to advertise their performances. Each Harvard organization will determine how many tickets to sell through BosTix, and counselors in the Sanders Theatre Box office will be available to help them decide.

BosTix and Harvard are attempting to lure the public to the new booth by offering free performances from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. outside Holyoke Center. The Krokodiloes, the American Repertory Theatre and the Boston Lyric Opera are scheduled to participate.

Another incentive: More than 100 tickets to a variety of Harvard events will be handed out free today.

Although the Faneuil Hall and Copley BosTix outlets work with Ticketmaster, the private ticketing company has chosen not to include a Ticketmaster outlet at Holyoke Center.

"The Harvard students can already buy tickets at Tower Records and HMV," said Michael Norton, general manager of New England Ticketmaster. "[But] we are very supportive of BosTix and their opening in Harvard Square."