Monday’s BCS National Championship matchup between LSU and Alabama appears likely to produce the "highest-priced tickets ever for a college football game," according to Mark Schleifstein of the New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE. TicketsNow and StubHub are reporting “record cash being exchanged for seats in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.” At TicketsNow, the official BCS ticket reseller, “the average price for a BCS game ticket on Thursday morning was $2,291, almost $1,200 more than what fans paid” for the ’11 game between Auburn and Oregon. StubHub Head of Communications Glenn Lehrman said that the average ticket on his company's website “was cheaper, about $1,850 each … but still 60 percent higher than the average price for last year.” There were “720 tickets available Thursday afternoon on TicketsNow, with prices ranging from $1,295 for a seat in the Terrace … to $5,460 for a seat in the Plaza.” Ticket sellers and stadium officials said that tickets “have been made pricey by the party-town location of New Orleans, the relatively easy access from Tuscaloosa, and the almost home-team closeness of LSU.” Lerhman said, “We anticipate that total ticket sales will be a bit less than last year, but anticipate this will be the top-selling BCS event in history, and the second-largest event behind last year’s Super Bowl” (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 1/6). However, Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan said of the BCS title game, “We have to wait 35 days from the end of the regular season to Monday night. There is no buzz outside of Alabama and LSU. The nation is yawning. If this game were played a week or even 10 days afterwards, then people would care” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 1/5).
ON THE FLIP SIDE: In Birmingham, Jon Solomon noted some sites have had “ridiculously large numbers of empty seats, and that's becoming the norm for the industry, not the exception.” Bowls once “were designed strictly for local communities,” but now they are “TV programming to get us through the holidays.” Solomon: “That doesn't mean bowls shouldn't exist. I enjoy bowls, the good ones I think will be interesting and competitive. But the current bowl system is holding back the sport's future” (BIRMINGHAM NEWS, 1/5). ESPN’s Michael Wilbon said, "Attendance at these bowl games is at a 30-year low. People are rejecting them and I wonder how much stock they're putting into the results” (“PTI,” ESPN, 1/5).
CHANGES COMING TO BCS? SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said fans are going to see some changes to the BCS in the future, adding, "I don't think those changes will be tweaks." Slive said, "We’re going to begin to focus in on all these issues over the next six to nine months. ... We need to take a look at the entire structure and see what kinds of changes need to be made. But I do really think there will be changes.” he noted the “plus one” format “has to come back to the table." Slive: "I'm confident that we will have a robust conversation about the 'plus one' and I certainly will want to make sure that that issue is fully vetted. I think that the climate has changed to some degree and so I'm looking forward to that discussion" (“The Tony Barnhart Show,” CBS Sports Network, 1/5).