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August 9, 2007 by Steve Megargee
Want to go to the Notre Dame-Penn State game? You'd better start saving your money.
That Sept. 8 game at Beaver Stadium is currently the hottest ticket of the 2007 college football season, according to ticket broker agency TicketCity.com - which unveiled a list this week of the 50 college football games drawing the most interest.
As of Monday, the release issued by TicketCity.com indicated that the average Notre Dame-Penn State ticket price at brokerage sites across the country was $1,100. A fan could get into the stadium for as "little as" $550.
Although neither team appears in the top 10 of the preseason ESPN-USA Today poll - Notre Dame isn't even in the Top 25 - the interest in the Notre Dame-Penn State game doesn't surprise TicketCity.com vice president of marketing Zach Anderson.
Anderson points out that the ticket prices for annual rivalries such as Florida-Florida State can rise or fall depending on how each team is faring that particular season. That's not necessarily true of non-traditional matchups between high-profile teams.
"If you look at our top 10, it's a Who's Who of big rivalry games," Anderson said. "But it's always the games where certain teams are playing that haven't played in a while that generate the most interest."
Notre Dame defeated Penn State 41-17 last year, but that marked the first time these two traditional powers had faced each other since 1992. The Irish haven't faced the Nittany Lions at Penn State since 1991.
Notre Dame's absence from preseason polls hasn't affected the Irish's standing as one of college football's top draws. Four of the five toughest tickets on this list involve Notre Dame.
The Ohio State-Michigan game ranks second with an average price of $1,000. That's followed by the Oct. 20 Southern California-Notre Dame showdown ($950 average), the Sept. 15 Notre Dame-Michigan game ($696) and the Oct. 13 Boston College-Notre Dame matchup ($661).
"Every year we see that with Notre Dame," Anderson said. "Notre Dame's a huge draw wherever they go. For home games, the prices are higher because it's extremely difficult to get season tickets at South Bend."
Anderson pointed out that the ticket prices for each of these games still could rise or fall over the course of the season.
For example, the ticket prices for last year's Ohio State-Michigan game rose significantly when it started becoming apparent both teams would head into their regular-season finale with perfect records. Even the least expensive tickets to that game had reached $1,100 in the week leading up to Ohio State's 42-39 victory.
"Other than bowl games, that's one of the hottest games we've seen in years," Anderson said.
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