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The Daily Tar Heel

Understanding UNC Athletic's ticketing system and policies

UNC fans cheer following the men’s basketball team's victory against Duke at the Dean E. Smith Center on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024. UNC beat Duke 93-84.

UNC is well known for its passionate fanbase and wide variety of athletic teams that span the entire campus. With 28 varsity teams and 50 national championships across them, you’ll have no shortage of exciting sports to watch this coming year.

Here are a few key tips to securing your tickets to those big games beginning in the fall.

The Lottery

Student IDs — referred to as One Cards — serve as the admission pass to nearly every event on campus. While most sports have free admission for all students, football and men’s basketball require extra steps before students can attend more high-profile games. 

To attend games for these two sports, students are required to enter the lottery, which randomly assigns tickets to students within the lottery pool. 

Winning tickets from the lottery requires incoming first-years and transfer students to register for a student tickets account on the GoHeels website. Ten days before the game at 10 a.m., students will receive an email from Carolina Athletics signaling that the the lottery is open. Students can apply anytime within the next the next 48 hours, with equal weight for every submission during the two-day period. Following the 48 hour window, late submissions will not be accepted. 

Once the application is submitted, students will be notified three or four days before the event if they have been selected from the lottery to receive tickets. Soon after, they will receive an email with a link to download the tickets, which can be added to students’ mobile wallets within 24 hours of the game. 

If students are not selected from the lottery, there are standby lines at both football and men’s basketball games for possible entry.

For North Carolina football, standby lines will open on Saturdays before the game. During the men’s basketball season, students typically are granted entry by arriving at the standby line 60-90 minutes before tipoff. 

Entering the Stadium 

To get the best seats, students will need to get there as early as possible to fight the sea of Carolina Blue.

For football games, ticket holders can begin entering Kenan Stadium up to an hour and a half before kick-off, but many individuals start lining up before then, especially for Tobacco Road rivalry games like Duke and N.C. State. 

Similar to football, lines for men's basketball games begin before tipoff, but students will be let in at different times depending on the phase of their ticket.

When entering the Dean E. Smith Center, basketball ticket holders are assigned a phase number — one, two or three for most games and one through five for the highly anticipated Duke-UNC game — to minimize congestion. Phase 1 ticket holders may enter an hour and a half before tipoff, Phase 2 ticket holders enter one hour before tipoff and Phase 3 ticket holders enter 30 minutes before tipoff.

Carolina Fever

If you are worried you’ll miss out on the big games, look no further than Carolina Fever.

Carolina Fever is a free rewards program available to all UNC students. No additional sign-up is required besides checking into the game on the Carolina Fever section of the GoHeels app.

By attending Carolina Fever events, students can begin accumulating points that guarantee tickets to football and men’s basketball games. Carolina Fever events occur at least once a week and are typically scheduled during UNC's lower attended sports' games, with each designated Fever game varying from two to three points.

For every home game, the top 200 point-earners receive one guaranteed football ticket while the top 150 point-earners receive two guaranteed Phase 1 men's basketball tickets. However, only one ticket is granted to students during the UNC-Duke men’s basketball game.

For the highly-touted rivalry game and after students have entered the lottery, Carolina Fever takes into account how many men's basketball games students have attended that season and which phase they will be in. 

During the school year, the point order is not fixed. Students must stay in the top 150 to 200 to keep reserved tickets. Additionally, students must arrive before the game’s scheduled start and stay until after the alma mater finishes playing to obtain all points. 

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Points can be earned from all events from the start of the school year up until the last home men’s basketball game. Carolina Fever restarts for the following year after the basketball season ends. 

@dthsports |