The match-ups for another college bowl season are set, and demand and prices are high on the resale market for tickets to more than just the BCS National Championship Game.
NCAA football’s marquee contest is a controversial rematch that pits No. 1 Louisiana State against No. 2 Alabama on January 9 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. The Tigers beat the Crimson Tide 9-6 in their Southeastern Conference regular season meeting on November 5.
Despite the controversy, ticket search site SeatGeek listed the average resale price for a BCS Championship Game seat at $1,873 as of Tuesday, December 6. Possibly driving up demand could be the close proximity of the Superdome site to both teams involved.
“The demand so far put it up there with the ’07 BCS championship [between Ohio State and Florida], which was the biggest of all the title games so far,” TicketCity COO Zach Anderson told TicketNews.
As usual, the Bowl Championship Series received plenty of criticism for its top pairing. Critics argue other once-beaten teams — such as Oklahoma State, Stanford or Boise State — should be given a shot at toppling undefeated LSU (13-0). They also stress that Alabama failed to beat LSU in its regular-season meeting and to reach the SEC Championship Game.
“Obviously, in a perfect world, you don’t want a rematch,” Anderson said. “Still, they’ve got what is clearly the best team in LSU, and it’s hard to argue that ‘Bama isn’t the second best.”
The ‘Bama-LSU rematch was StubHub’s most searched-for bowl game, the company’s public relations director Joellen Ferrer told TicketNews. But other games involving big-name schools aren’t being overlooked.
StubHub listed the Cotton Bowl (Arkansas vs. Kansas State) as the second most popular game, followed by the Sugar Bowl (Michigan vs. Virginia Tech).
In fourth place is the Champs Sports Bowl (Florida State vs. Notre Dame), with the Orange Bowl (Clemson vs. West Virginia) rounding out the top five.
The Cotton Bowl, January 6 at Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX, is not part of the BCS, but it “really has done its best to establish itself as a fifth BCS game,” Anderson commented.
The game features former Southwest Conference mainstay Arkansas, and it will once again be played at the popular Dallas-area stadium, where it moved last year. The average resale ticket price on SeatGeek was $439 as of December 6.
Wisconsin returns to the Rose Bowl for the second year in a row. The Badgers lost to Texas Christian last year in Pasadena, CA. This year, the team — winners of the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game — will face a more traditional opponent in Pac-12 champ Oregon on January 2 (SeatGeek average: $497).
Michigan (10-3) jumped from Big Ten also-ran to a high-profile spot in New Orleans in the Sugar Bowl on January 3, which could benefit ticket sales. SeatGeek’s average resale price for that game was $287.
“The BCS was smart to bring Michigan down to the Sugar,” Anderson said. “Michigan also brings that great fan base with it. Who doesn’t want to go to New Orleans?”
The Fiesta Bowl, January 2 in Glendale, AZ, matches Oklahoma State against Stanford. SeatGeek lists average prices at $290, with Stanford quarterback and Heisman trophy finalist Andrew Luck driving interest.
Both teams have a chance to lay claim to a national title should LSU lose. However, a 44-10 victory over rival Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship wasn’t enough to move Oklahoma State ahead of Alabama.
Another Heisman finalist, Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, makes the Bears’ Alamo Bowl meeting with Washington on December 30 in San Antonio attractive. Plus, it’s only 160 miles from Baylor’s campus in Waco, TX, to San Antonio.
“As you might expect, the big BCS games lead the pack,” SeatGeek director of communications Will Flaherty told TicketNews. “But the Alamo Bowl match-up is one interesting one that ranks pretty highly in our top 10 [in average price at $202], which is possibly higher than you might expect.”
Other high-demand, non-BCS games include Notre Dame and Florida State meeting in the Champs Sports Bowl on December 29 in Orlando. Penn State, with its well-documented off-field issues, takes on Houston (12-1) in the TicketCity Bowl on January 2 in Dallas.