SBD/November 29, 2012/Colleges

Big Ten, ACC, Pac-12 Face Issues In Selling Tickets For Football Conference Championships

With tickets to Saturday’s Big Ten Championship game in Indianapolis being listed on StubHub for $20, it “might be a sign” the event “doesn't have the attraction of last year's inaugural game at Lucas Oil Stadium,” according to Curt Cavin of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. For the two teams competing this year, Nebraska “must travel 650 miles” and a trip from Wisconsin's campus “will take half as long.” What that means to “attendance and the hysteria that surrounds it remains to be seen.” Each school was “given 15,000 tickets to sell this week, with Nebraska returning about 7,200.” Wisconsin “did not reveal how many it turned back in.” That is not to say "there won't be a nice sea of red at the game," but "signs point to a soft ticket market.” Last year's Wisconsin-Michigan State matchup drew 64,152 fans (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 11/29).

TEPID INTEREST: ACC Associate Commissioner/Football Operations Michael Kelly said that “between 59,000 and 60,000 tickets have been sold" for the Florida State-Georgia Tech ACC Championship Game in Charlotte on Saturday. In Jacksonville, Garry Smits notes Kelly was "optimistic that more Georgia Tech fans would purchase tickets as it got closer to game time.” But the fact tickets are available on StubHub “for less than the processing fee ($4.95) has already brought on a torrent of criticism and snark.” Smits notes there are “likely several factors playing into the situation.” FSU fans are “probably bummed” about the loss to Florida last week and are “saving their money for the Orange Bowl trip.” A North Carolina-based school team “has yet to play" in the ACC title game since Wake Forest in ‘06, when the game was played at EverBank Field in Jacksonville. Kelly “admitted that having a North Carolina team in Charlotte, or finally getting an FSU vs. Miami game, would be intriguing” (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 11/29).

TIMING IS EVERYTHING: In San Jose, David Pollak reports when it “comes to filling Stanford Stadium" for Friday's UCLA-Stanford Pac-12 Football Championship Game, a 5:00pm PT kickoff and “continuing forecasts of rain do not help.” Nor does the “fact that the host Cardinal and UCLA met just six days earlier in a one-sided contest.” When it comes to the national TV exposure the Pac-12 was looking for when it established the title game, this one “lacks the lure of a national title contender.” But organizers said that a trip to the Rose Bowl gives both schools "enough incentive to make the game the special event it was intended to be.” Stanford Dir of Ticket Sales & Services Rich Muschell said that through yesterday morning, about “30,000 of the 50,000 seats in Stanford Stadium had been sold.” Muschell predicted the final figure "could reach into the mid-40,000 range.” Pollak writes the title game “became a significant part” of the Pac-12’s $3B TV contract with Fox and ESPN. Fox Sports VP/Programming & Research Mike Mulvihill said of the early kickoff on the West Coast, “We wanted to put it on the best available stage and give it the exposure that an event of this importance deserved. And to us that means prime time” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 11/29).
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