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SBD/Issue 81/Collegiate Sports
Secondary Ticket Prices Skyrocket For Sold-Out BCS Title Game
Published January 10, 2011
|Lack Of Hologram On BCS Title Game Tickets
One Reason For Glut Of Counterfeits
There are "no tickets to be had anywhere" for tonight's Auburn-Oregon Tostitos BCS National Championship Game, and "as a result, prices for the 2011 BCS title game have entered the stratosphere, the highest prices ever recorded on StubHub.com and other online ticket brokers," according to Clay Travis of FANHOUSE.com. The cheapest ticket on StubHub.com yesterday was more than $2,000, and that was "down from nearly $5,000 in the moments immediately before the largest online ticket broker was forced to pull the game off its site on Wednesday." Pulling the game off its site left StubHub "scrambling to cover the tickets that had been sold on its site thanks to a fan protection guarantee that StubHub provides for all transactions." The company "attempted to buy back the tickets that had already been purchased on its site." Meanwhile, there is an "impending counterfeit disaster that may arise in time for" tonight's game. CNBC's Darren Rovell noted there is "no hologram on the tickets, there's no real counterfeit protections." Rovell: "This may well be another thing that the BCS has bungled." Travis noted "already stories are spreading of fleeced fans desperate to get into the game of their lives paying cash for worthless tickets." ESPN.com's Ivan Maisel Saturday tweeted: "Fan bought six BCS National Championship Game tickets in Scottsdale for $15,000. Tickets were fake. Money was real. Be careful" (FANHOUSE.com, 1/9). In Phoenix, Eddi Trevizo reports an "undercover operation led Glendale detectives to a BCS ticket-fraud bust and the arrest of eight people this weekend." More than 230 fake tickets were confiscated (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 1/10).
TIME FOR A CHANGE: The AP's Ralph Russo wrote apathy "seems to have set in among many college football fans toward" the BCS, and bowl officials indicated that they are "ready to try and fix it." Ticket sales for the some of the BCS bowls "have been sluggish, and ratings generally have been lukewarm for matchups that haven't gotten the casual fan excited." Sugar Bowl Exec Dir Paul Hoolahan: "We have to find a way to revitalize the market place." Russo wrote "geography was clearly an issue" for the Stanford-Virginia Tech Orange Bowl and Oklahoma-UConn Fiesta Bowl, though Fiesta Bowl Exec Dir John Junker said, "I'm not sure it's all necessarily, solely geographic." Russo wrote, "So what can be done? Bowl officials aren't ready to present specific ideas -- and don't think for a second that a playoff will be one of those ideas -- but there are a few others that will likely be tossed around in New Orleans when bowl officials and conference commissioners get together for their annual BCS meeting." Changes could include a "minimum BCS ranking for automatic qualifiers," or "mandating geographical considerations, so teams play closer to home." They also could include "making more teams at-large eligible," or they could "allow for more horsetrading." The system "doesn't allow much (if any) flexibility for the bowls to broker deals to trade teams" (AP, 1/7). Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban reportedly is "proposing to fund a 12- or 16-team playoff with higher seeds getting home-field advantage," and BCS Exec Dir Bill Hancock said of the proposal, "I don't think any amount of financial inducement will make people abandon something that works so well. This is college athletics, not professional. The traditional multi-day bowl celebrations at the end [of] the season are unique and cherished in the collegiate model and would be irrevocably damaged if Mr. Cuban's concept were implemented" (DALLASNEWS.com, 1/10).
LET'S GET POLITICAL: In N.Y., Katie Thomas notes the lawmakers behind the Playoff PAC "seek a playoff system in college football more akin to the NCAA basketball tournament," and they are "not just producing attack ads; they are also going after the bowls' finances." In complaints to the IRS, they "have raised questions involving three of the four bowls that make up the five-game Bowl Championship Series about interest-free loans, high salaries, lobbying payments and lavish perks for some bowl executives." They also have "made accusations about illegal campaign contributions." The PAC "has emerged as one of the few organized voices opposing the college bowl system." Four of Playoff PAC's founding members are alumni of the Univ. of Utah, whose football team was "undefeated in 2008 and, though it received a berth in a BCS bowl, was shut out of the national championship game because it did not play in one of the six major conferences." Playoff PAC member Joseph Birkenstock: "Nobody had taken a hard look at exactly what the BCS does. Nobody had used the tools that we had used in a political environment" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/10).