CFP Title Game Short Of Sellout Despite Late Rush On Tickets
A late rush on tickets for last night's Clemson-Alabama CFP National Championship at Levi's Stadium "drove up prices for last-minute buyers on the secondary market and resulted in a final attendance figure" of 74,814, though it was "not officially announced as a sellout" at the 75,000-seat venue, according to Kerry Crowley of the San Jose MERCURY NEWS. While that number accounts for tickets sold, several hundred and "possibly more than 1,000 seats remained vacated during the first half" of the game. The "split among fan bases was relatively even" (San Jose MERCURY NEWS, 1/8). The average ticket resale price for the game ended at $439 according to StubHub data. That would up being down 81% from last year's Alabama-Georgia game in Atlanta and down 67% from the '17 Clemson-Alabama matchup in Tampa. The drop was fueled heavily by the West Coast site for the clash between the two Southeast teams -- fans from South Carolina and Alabama combined for just 15% of StubHub sales for the game. Last year’s game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium generated more than 55% of sales from the states of the two competing teams. Buyers from California generated 41% of sales for last night’s game. There was a late rally yesterday in low-end, get-in pricing for the game, as prices that had previously fallen to as low as $120 rebounded to around $400 each as the game approached and word got out of low prices for available tickets (Eric Fisher, THE DAILY).
ATMOSPHERE DELIVERS: In S.F., Bruce Jenkins writes for all the "angst and derision" leading up to last night’s game, the reality was a "pulsating spectacle that finally brought glory" to Levi's Stadium. The place was "packed" with fans of the two teams. While there were "scattered empty seats in a few of the upper-deck sections," the atmosphere was "strictly major league: compelling theater before a captivated audience." Last night "amounted to fantasy" for 49ers CEO Jed York and his franchise, a "blueprint for the future" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 1/8). Also in S.F., Rusty Simmons writes there was "no sign of fan fatigue regarding the matchup as the game got off to a roaring start" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 1/8). 49ers VP/Special Events Patricia Ernstrom, who also served as the Exec Dir of the CFP National Championship Host Committee, prior to the game said, "Everybody has really done all of the things they said there were going to do. It's really been seamless with all of the various partners that have been involved, and it's so nice for it to come to fruition in such a wonderful way" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 1/7).
DODGING THE RAIN DROPS: In South Carolina, Gene Sapakoff notes fans who had to "put up with dreary Bay Area weather over the weekend" got a dry day yesterday and temperatures in the low 60s and high 50s for the game. It "rained some of Saturday and almost all Sunday" in both the S.F. and San Jose regions. CFP Exec Dir Bill Hancock said, "Any place can have bad weather. I was at the Orange Bowl one year and it was 36 degrees. In January, weather is weather. We made the right decision to bring the game here." Sapakoff notes picking Northern California for the game came with a "weather risk." The other four CFP national title games have been played in Arlington, Texas; Glendale, Ariz.; Tampa; and Atlanta -- all those venues but Tampa "are indoors." Future sites include New Orleans, Miami, Indianapolis, L.A. and Houston, and Hancock said, "We want to move the game around. We want to share it with different parts of the country. That’s the right thing to do. I don’t have any doubt about that" (Charleston POST & COURIER, 1/8).
DON'T FORGET SIN CITY: Las Vegas tourism officials said that the CFP "looms large on their radar, but that it probably will cost significant sponsorship dollars to lure it" to the city. Las Vegas Events President Pat Christenson: "The three (major) events that probably will be pursued ... are the Super Bowl, College Football Playoff and the Final Four." Christenson did admit that his group has not "gotten into what it would entail to bring the event here" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 1/8). In Las Vegas, Ron Kantowski writes under the header, "Las Vegas Would Be Ideal Place For College Football Title Game" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 1/8).