By Christine Paluf
Football season is upon us, and the hottest tickets for the fall certainly reflect that. Just as with any ticketing venture, which teams to invest in are as much of a gamble as hitting the craps table. Some teams, however, are sure bets no matter who they’re playing.
Notre Dame is one such team. Pair the Fighting Irish with the right opposer, and ticket prices skyrocket to a Super Bowl-esque realm. Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech opened Georgia’s season with a complete sell out, though the school had only seen five over the past three seasons. It was the fourth-largest college football game this summer on StubHub.com.
Whether fans are coming out to support the Irish or those waiting to see them get crushed, wherever the team goes, the call for tickets follows. Georgia Tech knew this ahead of time, and in efforts to sell tickets to other match ups, they only sold tickets to the game as part of a three-game ticket package. The “flex packs” allowed buyers to choose three home games to complete the package. Of the 12,000 packs sold, nearly all included a Notre Dame ticket, according to The Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Tickets to see Notre Dame this Saturday against Penn State’s Nittany Lions at Notre Dame Stadium are commanding prices that range from $295 to nearly $3,900 on TicketLiquidator.com. The highest ticket for the season is listed for $3,968 for a game against UCLA Oct. 21 on the site.
College football has its following, and these prices reflect the devotion of fans to the sport. The pricing parallels and even supersedes that of NFL games, which notoriously sell for well above face value.
Penn State has its own devoted following, as the team’s 11-1 record last year has inspired a flood of tickets on the secondary market, with fans and brokers looking to capitalize on the team’s success. According to CentreDaily.com, student season tickets sold out two months earlier this year than last, and public tickets are only available for three of the seven home games.
Last week the first citation for scalping was handed out to a student trying to resell a $166 ticket for $750, CentreDaily.com reported. Last season prompted 45 arrests for scalping. Under state law, reselling a ticket for more than $5 or 25 percent above face value (whichever is higher) is illegal, but buying the ticket is not.
Not all teams have these problems. NFL teams can have a harder time. This Friday’s Green Bay Packers game against the Tennessee Titans is selling tickets for below face value on many sites. TicketKing.com has over 350 listed, and will lose money on the game.
Last year’s season wasn’t super successful for the Packers, but the low pricing of Friday’s game is most likely related to the timing. The game was scheduled for 3 p.m. in the afternoon, not the most convenient for many working fans. However, it also offers fans that normally couldn’t afford to see the team the chance to catch a game.
Minnesota Vikings sales are slow this season as well, with the area spotlight focused more on the Twins. Taking advantage of the slow start is also a way to get good deals on tickets to see the team. And secondary sites are a great place to find tickets that fans are unloading because of lack of enthusiasm.
Whether it’s timing of the game or fickle fans, the time to catch your favorite team may be when they’re down, and the place to do it is the secondary market, the only place where free enterprise may dictate pricing below face value.