BCS Title Tickets Create Frenzy
The Times-Picayune (New Orleans)
December 3, 2007 by Nakia Hogan
The phones inside the ticket offices at LSU and Ohio State won't stop ringing.
Everybody, from high schools friends to former players to big-time boosters, wants a ticket.
But these days, there isn't much a phone call can do to get a person inside the Bowl Championship Series title game.
That hasn't deterred many fans, however, who hope to get a glimpse of the Tigers and Buckeyes at the Superdome on Jan. 7.
"It's always frenzy," said LSU associate athletic director Bo Bahnsen, whose school combined with Ohio State was issued 16,000 tickets for the game. "It won't stop until they kick it off. It's a challenge, but it's a welcomed challenge. I'm glad we have this problem."
The BCS offered 5,000 tickets to the general public Aug. 14, but those were snatched up in one day. The remaining allotment of tickets goes to corporate sponsors, which is estimated to be upward of 33,000 tickets.
Those without tickets shouldn't fret. That is, as long they are willing to open up their wallets.
Although BCS officials have deemed the game a sellout, on Monday thousands of tickets remained on the market through brokers and online sites.
StubHub, eBay and TicketCity.com, among others, were doing brisk business with plenty of inventory.
On eBay, an online auction site, bids for the tickets, which had a face value of $225 to $275, ranged from $1,200 for a pair of seats in the terrace to $4,000 for a pair in the plaza level.
At StubHub, the Internet ticket broker, BCS game tickets were moving at a constant pace. The average price was $1,313, with the cheapest ticket going for $595 and the highest for $3,471.
"It is, right now, the best-selling game at StubHub so far," said spokesman Sean Pate, who added that his company has about 1,000 tickets remaining. "It's actually grossed about twice that of the Sugar Bowl, which happens to be the second-best seller at this point."
Pate said the Tigers-Buckeyes BCS title game already ranks No.¤12 all-time in ticket sales at StubHub, and there's more than a month remaining before the teams play.
At another online ticket broker, TicketCity.com, seats at the game were a bit more expensive. The going price for a seat in the rafters at the Superdome was $1,100, while a premium seat in the club section sold for $4,000.
"This will be the biggest college bowl game of all time besides the Rose Bowl of two years ago," Ticketcity.com CEO Randy Cohen said. "At the Ohio State-Texas (BCS championship in 2005), at game time the price was $1,500 (for the cheapest ticket) to get into that game. I would imagine it is going to be the same, $1,500 or more to get into this game."
Ohio State fans will travel
Even with extra tickets floating around for a game in its own backyard, LSU fans shouldn't wait long to snatch up tickets, because Ohio State fans are lurking, several observers said.
While Tigers fans dominated the Superdome when LSU met Oklahoma for the BCS championship game in 2004, outnumbering Ohio State supporters is a bit tougher.
The Buckeyes, who averaged 105,110, fans at home games this season, have a huge following. After the 2002 regular season, in the Fiesta Bowl against Miami, Ohio State fans filled roughly two-thirds of the stadium. To get tickets to that game, Ohio State officials said some Buckeye fans joined a Miami donor club to get tickets through their opponent's school.
Last season against Florida, Ohio State drew at least half of the fans at the BCS title game.
"Our fans are pretty dedicated and pretty reverent when it comes to supporting the Buckeyes," said Ohio State associate athletic director Bill Jones, who expects his ticket request list to be about 50,000 by the weekend. "We have been fortunate enough to play in two national championship games in the last six years, previous to this year when the allotment was the same.
"Is 16,000 enough tickets to take care of Ohio State? Absolutely not, but it's something we have to work with."
The problem is a good one to have for both universities.
Players, coaches get dibs
LSU and Ohio State use similar plans for allocating tickets for the big game.
At LSU, where 53,000 ticket requests have been made, the first round of tickets is issued to players, coaches and administrators. Roughly 2,000 more are set aside for students, who can purchase a ticket for $175. The remainder, about 9,600 tickets, will be distributed to season-ticket holders, using a priority point system.
At Ohio State, the first wave also goes players, coaches and administrators. Nearly 1,500 tickets are allocated for students. And like LSU, the remaining tickets are sold to season-ticket holders, using a priority point system.
The overflow already has begun to filter into the open market. Brokers said early numbers show LSU supporters are buying tickets at a slightly higher rate than those of Ohio State.
But by kickoff, they expect the game to have a neutral-stadium feel. "Ohio State certainly has a fan base that travels as well or better than any fan base in America," Pate said. "They have fans across the country that will come in droves to any event and certainly to a national championship game.
"The advantage that the LSU fans have is that many of them are local and don't have to invest in travel plans. But you can bet that Ohio State fans will show up in numbers."
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