Fandom in an era of premium pricing

Meet the cheap seats, national championship edition:

Those who want to guarantee themselves a premium ticket to the first college football title game under the new playoff system can start buying Monday.

But fans might want to check the limit on their credit cards before doing so, as the cheapest tickets will run almost $2,000.

Ticket and hospitality companies PrimeSport and Colonnade Group, two of the vendors chosen by the organizers of the College Football Playoff, posted identical prices on their websites Monday morning.

The cheapest premium seat available through either company for the 2015 title game, which will be played Jan. 12 in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, is $1,899.

Oh, but look at what you get for your money:  “The seat, in the corners of the top level of the stadium where the Cowboys play, comes with a three-hour pregame hospitality event, a full premium menu and top-shelf bar, and a $50 merchandise voucher.”

If you’re really serious about it, you can jack the price up over $5,000 with better seating and a fancy hotel stay.  The question is how many Joe Fans can afford to be that serious, especially if they want to spring for semi-finals tickets, too?  Answer:  not many.  But don’t worry, guys.  Bill Hancock’s bosses have a bone to throw your way.

… Last week, the organizers of the playoff announced that 1,000 tickets to the title game will be made available by a random drawing to fans who submit their names between Jan. 13 and May 1. Five hundred winners will be notified that they are entitled to purchase two tickets at face value, which has not been announced.

Aw, how nice.

As Rovell notes, “The premium ticket offerings are only the first glimpse into the business of the college football playoff system.”  College football’s bedrock, regional appeal, is going to get away from us in a hurry, I expect.  And for those of you who quaintly insist that college football will have no choice other than to move the semis to on-campus sites to help the little guy out, let me know the last time college football chose a course of action that favored the little guy over a bigger revenue stream.  Take your time.

Face values for the two semifinal games, which will take place at the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 2015, and are controlled by the organizers of those venues, have not been determined.

If you’re looking for a pre-game hospitality event with good food and drinks, I suggest you start checking out your favorite sports bar’s plans for the title game.  Can’t help you with the merchandise voucher, though.


UPDATE:  And make sure you read Allen Kenney’s analysis of the cost to the consumer for the new SEC Network.  Bottom line, they’re gonna nick your wallet staying or going.


UPDATE #2:  Following in the footsteps of the NFL?  I’m looking forward to this in a few years.

“There’s not a lot of crowd noise,” said Ron Jaworski, an ESPN analyst who was the quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles when they reached the Super Bowl at the end of the 1980 season. “People mostly sit on their hands, outside of the fans that buy the tickets for the team. It’s kind of a corporate get-together.”

But at least you don’t have all those silly motion penalties and wasted time outs.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's Just Bidness

42 responses to “Fandom in an era of premium pricing

  1. JRod1229

    The Super Bowl isn’t for the common fan.. while annoying it’s been accepted as fact for longer than I’ve been alive. I don’t really know what point I’m making other than it’ll be OK.

    • I’m supposed to take solace in that it works for the NFL? Gee, thanks.

      • Macallanlover

        Super Bowl tickets are for the corporations, the NFL doesn’t care about the team’s traveling fans at the Super Bowl or regular season games. Super Bowl atmosphere isn’t in the same universe as college football. Much more about entertaining customers and execs of the sponsors, who will get a rude shock with the frigid 2014 location. Nice place to showcase the fur coats but I expect many wealthy clients to pass on the stadium experience if the weather is “seasonal” for NJ/NY area…might see some street people and homeless folks in those seats. Attend the parties, hobnob with the celebrities then have a convenient emergency on gameday or watch from the hotel bar or suite. I wouldn’t accept free tickets to the week’s pre-game ceremonies, much less the actual game.

        • KornDawg

          Attending the Super Bowl is one of my sports bucket list items, but I wouldn’t go this year even if the Falcons were playing in it unopposed. And I don’t know why they won’t move the stupid thing to Saturday.

          • oscardagrch

            They don’t move it to Saturday….to follow the theme of this posting from the Senator….because the $$$$ is on Sunday. More people watch TV Sunday night than Saturday night. You catch the people watching for commercials on Sunday…..

            Same reason the MNC has been on Monday nights…..people are home….

      • JRod1229

        Right or wrong it’s by far the most popular sport in the US (70% of people in the US watched an NFL game last year). I don’t see why we fault the NCAA for looking at the best in the business and pushing towards that model. I don’t like it, but it isn’t like I don’t understand it.

        • If I wanted to watch the NFL, I’d watch the NFL.

          • Gaskilldawg

            Exactly. I watch the NFL. I like the NFL and I love the fact that college football is different. If ESPN and the championship committee want to make the college football postseason more like the NFL then it is a fool’s errand. Why be excited about NFL lite when the real thing is on network television the same weekends?

        • Will (the other one)

          I “watched” quite a few NFL games this year. I gave a crap about exactly zero of them and even the NFC Championship’s ending minutes was something I only half-paid attention to. Sure part of that is I’m more emotionally invested in college ball, but over the past few years it’s also that all the innovation seems to happen on Saturdays (with a few rare exceptions).

      • Beer Money

        Who knows how long this will last
        Now we’ve come so far, so fast
        But, somewhere back there in the dust
        That same small town in each of us
        I need to remember this
        So baby give me just one kiss
        And let me take a long last look
        Before we say goodbye

        Just lay your head back on the ground
        And let your hair fall all around me
        Offer up your best defense
        But this is the end
        This is the end of the innocence

    • Beer Money

      Yes, but the NFL also does not expect fans to cough it up on some exotic trip that will cost thousands of dollars 2 WEEKS IN A ROW either. They realize that in order to have a raucous crowd as a backdrop for those watching on TV, they must have the first three rounds at home stadiums and save the finale for the big trip.

      • Macallanlover

        There will be more fan demand than tickets, and it won’t be close. Those who do not make the first game will gladly step up for the next round. I understand there are some who expect to attend every game, but they are a small minority. Could be a good thing by not limiting the experience to just the wealthiest fans, but that may just be the “spread the wealth”, sensitive side of me showing. Bottomline, there will be good Dawg fans at any round we make. I never understood this argument and feel it is taken from the attendance of minute fan bases in 1AA schools where they draw well below 10,000 fans for home games on average.

        • sUGArdaddy

          You gotta think long term, Mac. Of course UGA fans will travel. We’re hungry to be in the mix. But, will Ohio St. or Oregon or OU or FSU fans travel 3 times in 6 year span, because that’s probably how often they’ll win their conference. That’s the problem. The first few years will be great. But, what if we make a run and win the SEC next year, go to NOLA and win and then to Dallas. Then, we win the SEC again in 2015 and end up in Miami for the semis, but the Natty is in Tempe. How many dawg fans will make it to Miami knowing a cross-country trip to Glendale is looming? Then, say we take a year hiatus, but make it again in 2017, again going to NOLA. How many go to THAT semi?

          This will be a reality for power teams in weaker conferences. Bottom line is there are 8 teams in the SEC that have a shot to win the conference nearly every year. That number is more like 3-4 in most leagues and even less in the ACC. And it’s the same teams.

          If FSU makes the semis in Pasadena next year, you think their fanbase is going out there? Maybe, but most won’t. Using the bowls as semis will prove to be a catastrophic mistake. I hope they figure it out before it’s too late and fan interest hasn’t dropped. College football is fun to watch because the atmospheres are bananas. We run a risk of losing that. Just ask NASCAR what “going national” did for them.

          • Dog in Fla

            “If FSU makes the semis in Pasadena next year, you think their fanbase is going out there?”

            They barely went out there this year. From listening to Brent (who was looking live at the game for hot coeds) and what he told his pardner (Herbie), there were many more Auburn fans than FSU fans in attendance.

        • Gaskilldawg

          Dude, you understand that the post said that the cheapest tickets are $1,899 EACH. Tickets alone for a fan to take a spouse and two kids is $7,600.00. With transportation, lodging and food be prepared to spend $9,000 right after paying for holiday gifts and entertainment. Add that to your Hartman Fund, season tickets, WLOCP tickets and expenses and SECCG tickets and expenses and a guy making $80,000 a year is spending 20% of his take home pay on Georgia football. I really do not see the game having a true college fan atmosphere.

  2. PatinDC

    Forgot this question.

    Will this Championship game have an allotment of tickets for each school? At the same price point? That novelty will wear off pretty quick I think.

  3. Mayor of Dawgtown

    Is there a way to get access to the SEC Network without having cable, i.e. internet, etc.? Anyone? Bueller?

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      And again I ask…what about radio…some of us who can get the Georgia Radio Network do use it, ya know?

      From what I read, ESPN does, in fact, own ALL broadcast rights which would seem to include radio.

      And Mayor, if by internet you mean free, I have to tell you I would doubt the shit out of that.

      Free is no longer a viable concept for SEC football viewing…unless, of course, one of your kids is a hacker. 🙂

  4. uglydawg

    This sucks. The NC game will become an elitist “see and be seen” event.
    Cameras will pan the crowd looking for faces of the beautiful people, most of who don’t know a football from a corn fritter. The days of the average Joe getting a couple of days off and driving to New Orleans to use his already over priced $300 ticket are over. These bastards should have to sell every ticket at face value and the price fixing described above should be prosecuted. There are people who are going to get rich that never played football, don’t have anything to do with football or the schools in the game, couldn’t care less, but know ripe fruit (our love for the game for which they believe we will pay any amount) when they see it…while the kids that play the game get punished and banned for selling a damn jersey.
    “The love of money is the root of much evil”…God.

  5. At least in the nose bleeds at JerryWorld, you’ve probably got a great view of the monster HDTV video board.

  6. As a little guy, I don’t like this, but I’ll worry about UGA getting to the NC game for now.

    As a business person, this borders on brilliant. Screw TicketMaster, let’s go straight to the scalpers. Let a free market set the price, and ESPN and their wholly owned conferences can share a piece of that mark-up. Why should college football be limited to face value while StubHub gets rich?

  7. Cousin Eddie

    In 5 years it will be pay per view at $150 for the game. In ten years Emmert, or the buffoon in charge at the time, might require your first born. Enjoy it while it last.

    • SouthGaDawg

      That was my initial thought, but the Super Bowl isn’t pay per view so I can’t see the CF playoff being that way. I also can’t see myself paying for season tickets, paying to go see the SEC Champ game, paying to go to a semi-final, then finally paying to go to the NC game. May God, can someone do a cost analysis on that?

  8. Dog in Fla

    “UPDATE: … Allen Kenney’s analysis of the cost to the consumer for the new SEC Network…

    “Cable’s bundling delivery system enables the people who control that content to obfuscate the true costs to consumers with these kinds of gimmicks.”

    Artist’s nsfw depiction of how they broke the huddle and adjourned the meeting in which some some genius came up with the gimmick of Brent, Paul and Tim for the new SEC Network and called it a trifecta

  9. stoopnagle

    Gonna kill it real good.

  10. Midtown Dawg

    Have to admit I didn’t see this coming. I thought maybe $250 a ticket, but now the scalping has begun early and under sanction from the NCAA. $2,000 is insanity, and it’s wrong for so many reasons. You’re right, Senator; I did underestimate the greed of the NCAA.

    • Don’t blame this one on the NCAA. It’s totally on the conferences.

      • Midtown Dawg

        Whichever group of greedy bastards came up with this pricing plan it stinks to high heaven. Wonder how many players in the championship game will be able to have their parents in the stands? None, I’d guess.

  11. Dog in Fla

    @Scorpio Jones, III 9:07 AM
    “PS….maybe I can cultivate friends with the NSA.”

    If you liked the state
    Or condition of being free
    From being observed
    Or disturbed by others
    With privacy now lost
    Like Milton’s stapler
    If you can descramble code
    Without frying your brain
    If you like the sound of wiretaps
    And surveillance of posts at GTP
    Then ask the NSA why can’t
    We be friends and
    They’ll say you already are
    Except with no benefit to you

  12. watcher16

    Where do I get on that list for tickets?!

  13. Dog in Fla

    @Beer Money 3:54 PM