Click it for a ticket to get a pricey RU seat
August 11, 2007 by Jenny Vrentas
Place your bets: In any given Rutgers game this fall, will Ray Rice run for more yards or fewer yards than the dollars you paid for your ticket?
Before you decide, consider this: On the Web sites of ticket-broker agencies, some Rutgers football tickets are currently selling for several hundred dollars. And according to TicketCity.com, one such broker, two of the top 50 highest-priced college football games this fall feature the Scarlet Knights.
TicketCity.com lists Rutgers' home game against West Virginia as the 12th-most expensive, with an average ticket price of $495, and the tickets for the team's road game at Louisville rank 26th at an average of $305 a pop. Topping the list is Penn State vs. Notre Dame, for which the average price at TicketCity.com is $1,100 per ticket.
"(Rutgers') success last year has brought a lot of demand," said Zach Anderson, vice president of marketing for TicketCity.com. "That's an up-and-coming program, and in the next couple years you'll see it rise up the list."
As Rutgers worked its way to a surprising 11-2 record last year, demand for tickets soared. Scattered open seats in the season opener gave way to full houses in the final two home games of the season against Syracuse and Louisville. Those games attracted the two largest crowds ever at Rutgers Stadium: 44,111 for Louisville on Nov. 9, and 43,791 for Syracuse on Nov. 25. Anderson remembers fans calling TicketCity.com hours before the Louisville kickoff, hoping for a last-chance ticket.
Rutgers' Texas Bowl win over Kansas State and 2007 preseason coaches' ranking of No. 16 sustained the fan-frenzy momentum into this season. Now, buyers looking for tickets online will have to shell out a lot more cash. TicketCity.com's best bargain for the West Virginia game as of last night was $202, listed as section and row "TBA." A seat in the 15th row near the 50-yard line commands $858.
Prices at StubHub.com, another popular ticket-broker agency, are similar: West Virginia seats range between $179 and $824, and the cheapest Scarlet Knights home game is against Norfolk State, with ticket prices between $59 and $295.
Prices ebb and flow based on the team's performance early in the season, Anderson noted. But if Rutgers is able to prolong last year's success, he expects ticket prices to climb steadily this season and beyond.
"Rutgers traditionally hasn't been a school where there has been a lot of ticket demand," Anderson said. "You used to be able to buy tickets from the school up until game time.
"When a program comes to success quickly, it takes a few years to build a market."
Rutgers coach Greg Schiano joked when he was told how valuable tickets are now as opposed to when he started before the 2001 season.
"I should have asked for more tickets, huh?" he said in reference to his contract.
There is already a crunch in the team's 41,500 seating-capacity stadium, so much so that the school announced on Aug. 1 that single-game tickets for this season will not be sold to the general public. There is a nearly 6,000-person waiting list for season tickets, athletic director Bob Mulcahy said in a press release, and only individuals on that list are eligible for single-game tickets, though not all will receive them.
"There is a tremendous need for those who want to be part of Rutgers football this season," Mulcahy said in the release. "We understand we are not meeting the demand for tickets and hope to be able to accommodate Rutgers football fans in the near future."
For those left out, a ticket broker might be the only chance to see the Scarlet Knights live this fall. So if you're thinking about the Rice bet, take the under.
Staff writer Tom Luicci contributed to this report.
Jenny Vrentas may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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