Good things come to those who wait .. especially for Auburn and Florida State fans. The average price of BCS Championship tickets is down 70% since bowl selections; at a (not so) mean price of $636. Tiger and Seminole fans will pay less to watch their teams play for the National title than Spartan and Cardinal fans paid to attend the Rose Bowl Wednesday. The average price of Rose Bowl tickets three days prior to the game was $679.
Last year BCS Championship tickets were hovering around $2,000 on average a couple of days before Alabama and Notre Dame took the field in Miami. So, why are BCS Championship tickets so cheap this year? One contributing factor is the size of stadium; the Rose Bowl is the largest of the four BCS Championship sites, seating over 90,000. Last year’s Sun Life Stadium has the second largest capacity at just over 80,000 seats. The increase in supply (10,000 plus seats) will naturally drive demand down. Another factor is the distance fans have to travel. The further away the bowl game, the more time you need to take off work and the more costly plane tickets can be. Assuming many fans are traveling from near campus, it was much closer for Alabama and Notre Dame fans to travel to Miami than it is for Auburn and Florida State fans to travel to Pasadena. Can you imagine demand if the National Championship game was at Sun Life Stadium in 2014? Combined Alabama and Notre Dame fans traveled about 2,122 miles from campus to their bowl game last year. That is an almost identical distance to what Auburn fans will travel (2,135) from campus to Pasadena this year alone. No doubt, both Miami and Los Angeles at this time of year are desirable destinations so that factor remains constant. Lastly, both Alabama and Notre Dame are routinely named as top five traveling fanbases. The Fighting Irish have proven year in and year out that they can fill stadiums during bowl season. One thing I can not quite wrap my head around is why interest from Auburn Tigers fans is not greater. They sold their Spring Game out after going 3-9 last year and are known to have one of the best fanbases in college football. Are they only rowdy at home? (That’s a challenge Tigers fans!) Championship game tickets are about half the cost of the 2011 title game that pitted the Tigers against the Oregon Ducks in Glendale, Arizona.
It is not unusual to see the price of bowl game tickets decline as the game approaches, but listen to this: since we began tracking prices on the secondary market, the price of Rose Bowl tickets has never exceeded the cost of BCS Championship tickets. All this being said, don’t assume college football is losing popularity. Tickets to both games at the Rose Bowl Stadium this year are selling for more than any of NFL Wild Card playoff game this weekend.
Image Credits: Mark J. Terrill (AP), Jae C. Hong (AP)