If you can’t beat StubHub…

Georgia Tech is considering offering tickets to the Clemson game in some form of an auction.

Georgia Tech’s marquee game on the 2014 home schedule will be its Nov. 15 game against ACC rival Clemson.

The athletic department is considering an auction-style sales format to maximize revenue from the game.

“I think the growth of the secondary ticket market has spurred this, as people have seen a third party profiting significantly on high-demand games and saying, ‘Well, you know what? We sure could use those resources,’” Tech athletic director Mike Bobinski said.

It’s the logical thing to do if every dollar is precious.

Tech staffers have been in contact with counterparts at Northwestern, which sold single-game tickets for two premium games last season using a version of a “Dutch auction” suggested by Northwestern economists. Every dollar counts at Tech, which continually struggles to break even financially and doesn’t fully fund scholarships for its track, cross country and swimming teams.

Tech doesn’t fully fund buyouts, either.  (Which adds a slight touch of irony to this, don’t you think?)

Here’s how it worked at another school.

At Northwestern, the school sold single-game tickets for its games against Ohio State and Michigan using a modified auction. It established prices for three different tiers of seats and then lowered the prices based on demand until that tier sold out. Ticket buyers who purchased at a higher price were refunded the difference between their price and the final, lowest price. There was also a “floor price” that the school wouldn’t go below to avoid selling for less than what season-ticket holders paid.

Those going in at a higher price “are not going to feel like they got burned,” Northwestern assistant athletic director Ryan Chenault said. “The benefit, too, is if you jump in early, you get the better seats.”

Chenault would not provide sales figures, but noted that the final sales price for sideline tickets for the Ohio State game was about $190. The Michigan tickets sold for more than $100. As a comparison, the 2012 game against Nebraska, Northwestern’s highest ticket price was $70.

Chenault said there wasn’t much pushback from fans as marketers were proactive in explaining the auction. It was also pitched as an added benefit for season-ticket holders, as they could secure tickets for those premium games and avoid the auction.

“It makes (season tickets) a lot more attractive,” Chenault said.

As we all know, Tech already uses premium pricing for its more attractive home games.  This is another wrinkle to keep that extra dollar out of the market and in the hands of the school.  Hard to blame it for that.

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8 Comments

Filed under Georgia Tech Football, It's Just Bidness

8 responses to “If you can’t beat StubHub…

  1. Bulldawg165

    I’m surprised athletic departments in general don’t try to take more action to ensure that they capture the incremental revenue normally received by scalpers on the secondary market.

    I’ve actually heard/read about certain musicians requiring venues to withhold a certain number of tickets for their concerts so that they can sell them on the secondary market.

  2. Scorpio Jones, III

    An auction for Tech football tickets? When there are Star Wars posters on Ebay? Makes as much sense as Tech still trying to be competitive in the ACC.

    • Anon

      It’s not that it’s an auction for Tech tickets. It’s an auction for Clemson tickets. Or Georgia, or VA Tech…

  3. PTC DAWG

    Sounds like the market at work to me.

  4. hassan

    But do you still get the free hot dog and coke with those auction tickets?

  5. wnc dawg

    Don’t have time to find the link, but for those interested, Planet Money did a great podcast on the Northwestern end of this a while back.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/

  6. Hogbody Spradlin

    OK, let’s start the bidding at 25 cents each for these prize Tech football tickets, 25, 25, 25, anybody, anybody? OK, how about 20 cents each, 20, 20, 20, anybody, anybody? Bueller?

  7. Mayor of Dawgtown

    How’s this: “What if you held an auction and nobody came.” Or this: “If someone held an auction in the woods and nobody heard it, would the auctioneer still make a sound?”