SEC Warns Fans to Beware of Fake Championship Tickets
November 30, 2009
Gator fans spending hundreds of dollars on Southeastern Conference championship tickets should be careful they're buying the real thing.
With tickets selling for more than $500 apiece on average, the conference is warning fans to beware of possible counterfeits. The Georgia Dome will provide a ticket validation window at its main box office starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday where the authenticity of a ticket can be confirmed.
"It just gives fans an opportunity ... to see if it's valid," said Charles Bloom, conference spokesman.
The game, pitting Florida against Alabama, is essentially a semifinal for the national championship. Ticket prices at major resale sites reflect the high stakes. Costs range from $339 to $5,000 per ticket.
The average ticket price is $505, according to the Web site TicketCity. The Austin, Texas-based ticket reseller determined the figure from more than 800 brokers listing tickets on its site.
The price is nearly $100 more than tickets to last year's championship, which a TicketCity official attributed to the fact that both Florida and Alabama are undefeated. Last year, Florida entered the game with one loss.
Getting tickets at face value is a tough proposition. While Florida and Alabama were each issued nearly 16,000 tickets for the game, many go to high-end boosters.
About 20,000 are sold to the general public, but those ticket holders are able to renew each year. Bloom said about 98 percent take advantage of the renewal, so a limited number are actually put up for sale.
The remaining seats in the Georgia Dome - which has a capacity of about 71,250 - are distributed to sponsors, stadium suite and lease holders, the conference office and other schools in the conference.
At last year's game, scalpers could be found near the CNN Center in downtown Atlanta. Georgia law prohibits tickets from being resold within 2,700 feet of large venues such as the Georgia Dome.
While tickets can't be resold at the dome, Bloom suggested scalpers could still be walked to the validation window to ensure they're offering real tickets.
"The opportune time is before buying the ticket," he said.