This is what happens when fans are smarter shoppers than their schools are.

The secondary ticket market for bowl games means that people will still show up.  They’ll just be more prudent about it.

But while Tech has sold only about 10,000 of its 17,500 allotted tickets, athletics director Jim Weaver has steadfastly maintained there will be 15,000-20,000 Hokies fans at the Sugar Bowl.

After 19 consecutive trips to bowls, he said, Tech fans are savvy about acquiring tickets. And they can get cheaper seats, often with better views, by going through the secondary market and brokers.

The downside is that some schools will be stuck with an even worse deal from their bowl ticket allotments.

West Virginia’s sports marketing director, Matt Wells, said this week that the school has sold only about 7,500 of its Orange Bowl allotment of 17,500 tickets. While WVU will use another 1,500 tickets for staff and family members, the band and other school-related travelers, Wells said he does not expect the university to sell many more before the bowl against Clemson. That means WVU probably will be on the hook for more than $1 million in unsold ducats.

“We were hopeful that we’d sell more, so we are disappointed with the number of sales,” Wells said.

The bowls aren’t going to change their ways.  Which means schools are either going to have to provide additional incentives to entice their fans to buy through them or continue to eat the increasing expense and look for ways to pass that on to the fan base.  I’m pretty sure we know how that’ll work out.


Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

25 responses to “This is what happens when fans are smarter shoppers than their schools are.

  1. Merv

    I have thought about not getting bowl tickets from UGA. The SEC should negotiate better ticket packages from the bowls. Most of the schools tickets are in the upper deck and endzones. I could get better seats on the secondary market but only buy through the University out of loyalty.

  2. Raleigh St. Clair

    The bowl system simply has no place in today’s college game and it will almost certainly die. The game will be far better for it.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      The bowls are supposed to be a reward to the players and the fans for a good season. There is nothing wrong with having bowl games per se, it is the abuses that have developed over time that are the problem: Bowl executives getting paid $1 Mil/yr for doing next to nothing; the tax write-off scam; pretending to raise money for charity when only about 10% really goes to charity and the rest lines somebody’s pockets; and, yes, foisting all the bad seats in the stadium off onto the schools for them to resell to their fans at an exorbitant price. I favor keeping the bowls but cleaning up the abuses. However, if it takes actually killing the bowls themselves to get rid of these practices so be it.

      • W Cobb Dawg

        Well said. Some of these bowls are even a drag to watch on TV. Halftime’s that last forever and talk about nothing but tebow, lousy officiating by Wagers, and did you see how ugly the UTEP cheerleaders were? Erickson was awful coaching last night – couldn’t even muster enough energy to get ref’s attention to call a time out!

        • Had a discussion with my son yesterday. He is for an 8 team playoff & shows no interest in the lesser bowls.
          I on the other hand am for a plus one playoff system (Top 4 Teams) & keeping the other bowls as is (as long as they remain profitable for the sponsers & have fan support for the teams).

          • Mayor of Dawgtown

            Both of you are right. Have the playoff as a plus one but keep the bowls–without the abuses-for the other teams. The bowls don’t get a phony tax write-off for their sponsors and they have to sell tickets without requiring the teams to buy any. After that, the market takes care of it. If the bowl can survive on merit in can stay. If not it goes the way of the dodo.

            • Macallanlover

              The plus one is one step in the right direction, but one step short of what is necessary to eliminate legit complaints. It cries out for expansion because it denies regional representation which will simply continue the complaints of elitism. There is no way to convince fans their schedule isn’t as good/better than other areas and that is the crutch of the argument.

              • Mayor of Dawgtown

                I’m not against 8 teams in a playoff, I just don’t think it is doable in the present athletic climate politically. If we go to four 16-team mega conferences, sure. The conference championship games would be the first round of the playoff, then you are down to 4 and on from there.

  3. FisheriesDawg

    The only bowl game that I would buy through the school at this point is the national championship game. I might have bought a Rose Bowl ticket in 2007 if that deal had worked out, but that’s about it.

    I’m expecting to spend $20 each or less for Outback Bowl tickets in a week and a half.

  4. Haywood Jablome

    I’m all for supporting my school, but the cold hard reality is that you are a fool if you buy tickets through the University. I’m in the middle of the pack as far as points, so that means I’ll end up with upper deck corner end zone seats. Anything other than the MNC game and I’m in the secondary market for a bowl game.

  5. Will Trane

    Bowls are not about fans, alums, and supporters. Bowls are about themselves and their profit. And there is nothing wrong with that, but the bowl committess need to focus more on the alums and their ticket needs. There are alot of alums out there, but there are other things they have planned at this time of the year. Plus with TV, the cost of travel plus tickets, and the cost of time, it is a push to buy and to go.

    I’m glad this team is going to a major bowl. Just want them to win and to win strong.

  6. Scorpio Jones, III

    Any story combining the words Georgia Tech and fan support is bogus from the outset.

    Is it not time all good Georgia people relegated Tech to its proper place in the pantheon of football opponents….right behind Ole Miss?

  7. travis

    I wonder if bowl contracts forbid schools from selling tickets below cost? It’d be nice if they could recoup some of their obligation by responding to the market. But I have long wondered where all these secondary market tickets come from. And that’s down to the guys on baxter street with their ‘i need tickets signs.’ Who is giving scalpers these tickets, and why?

    • Beer Money

      Bowls themselves sell tickets to the general public. This is true of EVERY bowl game except for the BCS title and they actually do have a sale on Ticketmaster when it is in the Rose Bowl. You can generally buy up as many seats for any bowl game ahead of time through the bowl or on Ticketmaster if they sell them on there. It’s not that hard.

  8. Hill Dawg

    About 50% or more of the bowl tickets are sold in package deals to local civic minded businesses. Depending upon the number of tickets purchased, the package deal includes invitations to various parties throughout the year. This adds financial stability that the bowls would not have otherwise. Its a necessary evil. When the locals have no interest in the teams playing in a given year, many tickets end up being on the streets on or near game day.

    • dubyadee

      I have a hard time believing this to be true. Based on my eye-ball review of past bowl ticket options, at most 30% of the seats (and generally the best seats) are never on the primary market through the bowl or the school.

      And I think you’re being way to generous to call it a necessary.evil. It’s a system that generates above-the-line money from companies (many of them publicly held) and uses that money to overcompensate politically-connected bowl officials and to throw parties lavish parties and golf junkets for top-level executives at which the local political machine is oiled. And who pays the bill? You pay it when you shell out for an upper-deck endzone ticket at a game where the good seats sit largely fallow. If you wise up and buy in the secondary market, the school pays it when they come out of pocket to cover unpurchased tickets. As a taxpayer, you also cover the lost revenue when the locally bought tickets are called a business expense and the money is run through a tax-exempt non-profit. And finally, if your IRA is in index fund, you’re likely coming out of pocket for tickets bought by publicly traded companies, so their execs can hob-nob with the right people at bowl parties.

      This is what passes for being “civic-minded” today. It’s not a necessary evil, but it is necessarily evil.


  9. Cojones

    It’s unfortunate that the bowlscould kill the goose that lays their golden egg. Even moreso,it’s shameful to take advantage of alums’s loyalty in this manner.

    Suggestion: Buy your tickets normally to support the school and buy the cheaper, better-seating tickets as well. Donate your school tickets to local Tampa kids in the name of our University and let hem become early Dawg worshipers in their lives. Sure would help in recruiting, no matter whether the kids play football or not.
    Then, next year encourage UGA to negotiate for better seats or don’t accept them anymore like braindead bank accounts. That way you may have your doughnut and eat it too.

    Merry Christmas Dawgfans, one and all. May this and the New Year keep the Dawgs warmly in your hearts and in your prayers.

  10. Macallanlover

    It isn’t just bowls where fans can shop smarter. Regular season games, and the SECCG, offer great seats for excellent prices on StubHub and their Ebay partner. I found 4 tickets on the 40 yard line for the SECCG on ebay two days before the game, lower level, 20 rows up, Ga side for $675. For Colorado, I found 2 on the 50 behind the UGA bench for $300. Can’t get those the traditional way. How can you blame fans for getting better tickets for those prices and you don’t have to commit until the last week/day?

    • Chopdawg

      If you’re willing to miss kickoff, you can usually find tix outside the stadium for face value or less. I’m wondering how much longer UGA season ticket holders–like me–are going to put up with paying $325 each year for the privilege of buying $40-each-game tickets on the 10-yard line, top row of the upper deck, for meaningful regular-season games against Buffalo, Fla Atlantic, etc

      • Macallanlover

        Too big a risk for counterfeit tickets that way. Sad stories about that every big game and no way to defend yourself against the ripoff. Plus, who wants to miss any part of a big game? There are only 1-2 really good games a year at home, and at least one of those will be at a lousy time. Just cherry pick the good ones and watch the rest at home.

        The powers-that-be have turned their back on fans long enough, or worse, spit in their face. The season ticket holders I still know sell, or give away, more tickets than they use personally. You get what you are willing to tolerate, and right now CFB is sticking its tongue out at fans.

  11. Stoopnagle

    What? Couldn’t offset that $1 million with home game beer sales?