SBD/December 13, 2012/Colleges

Ticket Sales For BCS National Championship On Record-Breaking Pace

Ticket demand for the Notre Dame-Alabama BCS National Championship game in Miami is reaching a "Super Bowl-level fervor" with sales at StubHub "on pace to break the site record by 25 percent," according to Michael Casagrande of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. The average ticket on StubHub as of Monday afternoon "was priced at $1,912 with six premium seats already selling at $8,824 and the game is still three weeks away." StubHub Head of Communications Glenn Lehrman said that sales figures "officially passed totals" from last season’s Alabama-LSU title game in New Orleans. The average ticket price "for that game was $1,565." Orange Bowl VP/Communications Larry Wahl said, "I’ve been doing this for 35 years … and I’ve never seen anything like this" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 12/11). Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick at the ‘12 IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum last week said, “There’s a limit to how many tickets can be made available with 17,000 to each school, and we’ve had over 100,000 requests ten days after we qualified and it continues to grow. So it’s a challenge, but it’s a great success problem to have” (THE DAILY). ESPN’s Joe Tessitore said it is "unbelievable the demand” for tickets to the Notre Dame-Alabama game, as the "secondary market average ticket price -- not talking 50-yard-line lower level -- is over $1,000.” Tessitore: “It doesn’t cost you anything to just sit back on your couch at 8:30 on ESPN” (“College Football Live,” ESPN, 12/12).

WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS...: In Seattle, Bob Condotta noted Washington and Boise State were each "allocated 11,000 tickets to sell" for the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas. UW officials on Tuesday said the school had "distributed nearly 4,000 tickets." MAACO Bowl Exec Dir Dan Hanneke "visited Seattle last weekend" and said that he was "pleased with the early ticket sales, though he said it was also anticipated that Boise State might not sell as many this year as it has the past two seasons, since Boise State also played in the game in 2010 and 2011" (SEATTLE TIMES, 12/12). In Boise, Chadd Cripe reported BSU could "fall about $100,000 short on its ticket commitment" for the game. The school has "distributed about 3,100 tickets, including tickets for the band and players' families." About "2,200 of those tickets were purchased -- $121,000 worth" (IDAHO STATESMAN, 12/12).

WORSE COMES TO WORSE: In Reno, Chris Murray noted Nevada "has sold fewer than 100 tickets, according to the school’s ticket sales office," for Saturday's Gildan New Mexico Bowl. To "break even in tickets sales, Nevada would have to sell a little more than 3,000 tickets." Mountain West Conference Deputy Commissioner Bret Gilliland said that conference teams "have historically sold about 6,000 tickets per bowl game." Nevada also will "travel its band and cheerleading squad for the game at an added cost." The athletic department still "expects to make a nice chunk of money that it says will be funneled to the general administration fund." Nevada Senior Associate AD Keith Hackett said, "We’re hoping that we can make $25,000 to $50,000. We’ll make a little bit less overall, but we’re using the same approach as we always have. We’re always as budget-conscious as possible" (RGJ.com, 12/12).

RAISING ARIZONA:
In Michigan, Mike Griffith noted Michigan State has "sold approximately 2,000 of its 11,000-ticket allotment" for the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Tempe, Ariz. against TCU. The bowl is "coming off back-to-back record breaking crowds thanks in large part to Iowa." Last year's Iowa-Oklahoma game drew 54,247 and in '10, Iowa-Missouri drew 53,453. Bowl game Chief of Communications Andy Bagnato said, "We had Iowa two years in a row and sold many tickets. This year we'll just have to see. The other thing about this game, because people know tickets are available, you can have a pretty strong walk-up crowd." Griffith wrote MSU's "inability to market and sell tickets like other Big Ten schools could have played a role in BCS bowl games passing them over in favor of other Big Ten programs with a better tradition and reputation for bringing more loyal fans to bowl games." MSU AD Mark Hollis said that he is "concerned that a poor Spartan following at this year's Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl will affect the program's image even more and hinder Michigan State's ability to get attractive bowl invites in the future" (MLIVE.com, 12/10).

TROUBLE AT THE GATE
: Northern Illinois Dir of Ticket Operations Eric Schultz yesterday said that "fans have claimed approximately 5,500 tickets" for the Discover Orange Bowl. In Illinois, the DAILY HERALD reports approximately "10,000 tickets priced between $75 and $165 remain available in the Huskie sections" of Sun Life Stadium. NIU is "responsible to fill 17,500 seats" (Illinois DAILY HERALD, 12/13). Virginia Tech AD Jim Weaver Tuesday said ticket sales for the Russell Athletic Bowl against Rutgers in Orlando had been "fairly slow." Weaver said that VT "had sold less than 3,000 of its 13,500 ticket allotment thus far." In DC, Mark Giannotto noted it "doesn’t help that tickets are going for as little as $4 on secondary market websites like StubHub." VT's ticket office is "forced to sell tickets that have a face value of $72" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 12/12). Toledo has "sold only about 300 tickets" for Saturday's Famous Idaho Potato Bowl matchup against Utah State. However, there will be "no ramification for scant ticket sales," as the school will "not be required to pay for any of 2,000 tickets that go unsold" (TOLEDO BLADE, 12/13).
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