Ticket Watch Down to One

Ticket Watch Down to One

Submitted by Seth on April 1st, 2018 at 9:07 PM

Got enough questions since last night that we might as well do a Championship round of Ticket Watch, and also update the Frozen Four search.

Getting There

Bunch of crazy people I know are on their way to San Antonio right now, some of them even with tickets. The good news it’s not that hard to find them—the bad news is good luck getting there, or finding a place to stay! A hacker fare to Houston will run you $850 right now. Hotels in town are going at $500/night.

Getting Seats

Getting in the door isn’t a big deal. The online seats are going for $90 or less (after fees) with little fluctuation, and I expect they’ll keep dropping slowly until gametime is close and whatever Kansas fans still haven’t dumped theirs try to cut their loss (maybe guard the three point line next time!).

The best bet if you’re flying solo is finding a Michigan fan in your online community who bought what they could expecting friends to finagle their way down there—and not all friends came through. I counted three facebook friends looking for someone to take a fourth off their hands or something, not to mention two friends who tried to get me to ignore my doctors and my wife and my bank account and get the hell down to Texas RIGHT NOW (okay, yes, I thought about it). Someone posted one recently in the thread for the last Ticket Watch.

The ticket dump after last night’s late game came and went about face value or a little under it, and that’s held through today. There are enough on the market that I don’t think we’ll hit super-scarcity, and the electronic option means trading can go right up to near gametime. So if you’re trying to save some money, make sure you’re good on the process, find a spot with WiFi, and make your move late.

Again, I’ve gotten word from locals that you should stay away from scalpers in town. That’s a good general rule, but certain markets have more fake ticket problems than others and this is apparently a problem in SA.

[After THE JUMP: The Crisler Watch Party. How to move up. Frozen Four]

Ticket Watch Comes in Fours

Ticket Watch Comes in Fours

Submitted by Seth on March 27th, 2018 at 4:27 PM

Final Four! Frozen Four! When to buy? What to buy? How to buy? Any tricks?

Final Four

Sorry this is coming out too late to be a part of the volatile part of the market. There was a point when Michigan and Loyola were the only two fanbases who knew they were going to San Antonio, and then prices shot up from $200 to $250 (official ticket exchange) the second Kansas and Nova fans got in (these are after-markup prices). The cheapest ticket to go by since I’ve been tracking this week is $120.

They’re at the high now and should stay that way until a fuzzy point tomorrow when UPS is no longer a good option. This restricts the salability of the tickets and the price starts coming down until gametime. Because of the nature of this beast a huge amount of tickets are bought on the secondary market, and with expensive flights booked there’s a lot of impetus for buyers to buy. Don’t buy at the high.

As the market’s settled down it’s formed into three price tiers:

  1. $I-Don’t-Care: Premium seats were purchased as soon as they went on sale by brokers looking to capitalize on the once-in-a-lifetime nature of great seats for a Final Four/Championship run. They were bought as session seats and are selling separately. The reasonable ones went right away so all that’s left are $3,000 moonshots that nobody will buy (about 110 seats like that on the market). WAIT on these. They’ll drop as gametime approaches—perhaps down to as little as $600 for Final Four.
  2. $Good seats: Once you’ve given up on being down low at half court there’s a middle tier that’s going for about $500 now and should come down to the $400s, but they’re also slowly disappearing from the bottom-up. Behind the basket and corner are the same—it’s just about what someone’s trying to offload. You can also find some club seats in this price level since the Alamodome has a ton of those.
  3. $Get me in the building: The cheap seats are all upstairs, either Upper Baseline or Plaza Level. They’re also available as mobile tickets so they’ll be trading right up to the finish line. These are moving at about $200-$250 though there are a bunch listed for more in better rows (saw four for $300 each in row 1 today). Right now you have more options where to sit—wait for a real person to put up a “sell now” and jump.

Note that season ticket holders got access to lower bowl seats for $385 face—I noted wryly that a bunch of seats went up for $1,385 on Sunday night.

The rows for the premium seats are a bit weird and you should pay attention so you’re not sold a seat 20 rows higher than it sounded like. Rows 1, 2, 3, and 4 are what they say on the tin, then it goes A-Z, then AA-QQ, then 20-35. So row “F” is 10th row, and “FF” is 36th row, and “Row 20” is really Row 47. Seating upstairs goes Row 1 to 28.

I pinged Ralph Garcia from TicketIQ for some history and he sent me a little data:

Year Metro AVG Get-In Quantity Teams
2011 Houston $595 $161 1,220 Butler, VCU, UConn, KY
2012 New Orleans $722 $190 1,854 KY, Lville, OSU, Kan
2013 Atlanta $887 $309 1,145 Lville, Wichita, Mich, Cuse
2014 Dallas $790 $199 5,689 UConn, Wis, Fla, KY
2015 Indianapolis $1,108 $290 6,803 Wis, Ky, Duke, MSU
2016 Houston $1,025 $239 1,966 Okla, Nova, UNC, Cuse
2017 Glendale $1,343 $214 1,813 Oregon, UNC, Zaga, SC
2018 San Antonio $1,036 $250 1,837 Nova, KU, Mich, Loy

The 2015 bump is because they dramatically raised the face price—that tends to set the market more than the teams in it.

Which fanbases are in can make a big difference (the 2014-’15 qtys are from when TicketIQ was an official resale partner I think). I don’t pay much attention to “average” price though that’s what the ticket resellers like to report. Michigan drove the 2013 prices, though that was the first trip in decades in a city filled with Michigan fans. This time I think it’ll be more in line with the Houston numbers—Michigan and Kansas fans are the big travelers in the bunch.

Championship Game?

For you Loyola fans, the good news is once you defeat Michigan there should be a lot of Michigan tickets for sale. Prices either drop 25% if the favorites make it in, or 50%+ if they don’t. More data from Ralph:

Year Metro AVG Get-In Quantity Teams
2011 Houston $316 $60 3,056 UConn, Butler
2012 New Orleans $362 $65 4,289 Ky, Kan
2013 Atlanta $468 $90 4,182 Lvill, Mich
2014 Dallas $426 $90 12,091 UConn, KY
2015 Indianapolis $761 $181 9,136 Duke, Wisconsin
2016 Houston $746 $102 4,562 Villanova, UNC
2017 Glendale $679 $133 2,930 Gonzaga, UNC
2018 San Antonio $619 $120 2,560 ???

Again you see when face value went up historically. The big takeaway here is don’t buy ahead—there are going to be some really big Nova or Kansas fans who bought awesome “both sessions” seats going home and putting these up for what they may. If you can’t get cheaper than what’s available, you can probably get better. Right now those are going in the $300s or $400s. But you can still shop for deals—I found a lower level right now for $357.

Craigslist after the first two sessions will light up like a pinball machine, and that’s a good starting point if you’re in San Antonio and sticking around a few days. WARNING for Craigslisters: the Spurs are one of a handful of teams that now use a terrible app called Flash Seats; sometimes that’s a good way to ID a real person but the reason they use it is the app has all its protections for the seller and not you. Note that their reviews are either real people with major complaints or good bot reviews.

If you’re in SA, keep in mind this isn’t like the last round, where few people flew in just for the second match. People will go to a championship game who didn’t go to a Final Four. So if you’re on the ground, take advantage by playing the people walking out of the building, and the types who’d love to meet on the way to the airport on Sunday.

This is one of those times when I think your seat does matter. You’re going to remember going to this game (when’s Loyola going back to the national championship game?) and the markup from getting in to getting down isn’t that huge unless you’re trying to sit in the lower bowl. Here’s where waiting to buy championship tickets also helps: if you don’t like your seat in the first game you’ve now had a night to suss out the place. Plus the seats that go on sale will be pretty random, whereas they’re being bought up in order of niceness/price.

Where the Maize People At?

Section 113-118 (southwest side) is Michigan’s allotment, so if you’re trying to sit near more Michigan fans your best bets are to sidle around that: 316, 318, 320, etc.

E-Ticket Situation

They do exist, but so far they’re a tiny part of the market, and marked up because of convenience.

Flight Situation

Flying to San Antonio is going to be a super premium right now. I personally find Texas very drivable despite the long distances—traffic jams up outside the main cities all the time but they’ve got wide and open freeways where the buffalos roamed, and you have to try really hard not to find an amazing barbecue joint en route.

Austin is just an hour and a half away. Corpus Christie is 2 hours. Houston is 3 hours and you go through a city named Flatonia.


The State of Texas (nisi Austin) is a hellscape of pavement with no parking that pays to host national events because that’s what passes for their tourism industry. This goes triple for San Antonio. The Alamodome is just off to the side of San Antonio’s main downtown area, across the freeway from the convention center. So it’s kind of like trying to park in Detroit for a World Series game if you just picture Comerica Park on other side of I-75. There are structures and adjacent lots that will be sold out, some parking lots in not-great neighborhoods behind, and lots and lots of downtown. Here’s a map of official alternative lots.

There is an Amtrak station just next door but note: the Amtrak station is not the giant beautiful “Sunset Station” train station. One day maybe I’ll tell you about how I tried to find the train station and wound up crashing an airline magnate’s son’s wedding.

Frozen Four

Thinking about making the run to Minneapolis? Tickets are going to be available for about $80-$100 for the ND game (one week from today) and probably drop to the $60s for the championship on Saturday. You’ll spend more getting there than getting in, and it’s a beautiful arena with no bad seats so if you’re going just get in.

Why is This Night Different from All Other Nights Seth?

If they put this game any time except when I have to lead a Passover Seder for both sides of extended family, deiyanu.

Ticket Watch in the Sweet Sixteen

Ticket Watch in the Sweet Sixteen

Submitted by Seth on March 20th, 2018 at 5:56 PM

The board had a bunch of questions spread out among various threads so I spent a day trying to get answers and this took on kind of a mailbag format.

Prices: $100 to $250

Yeah, they’re high for a basketball game, but it’s not one basketball game you’re purchasing but two (if you bought by session) or three (if you buy all sessions). I pinged my friend Ralph Garcia from TicketIQ because I haven’t played this market much. Ralph:

"Ticket trends for the regional round in LA are virtually unchanged since the beginning of the tournament. The current average asking price is $434, about a 6% drop from the $460 average price cited on the 12th. The cheapest available ticket is $130. Tickets are available as Session 1 (2 games on Thursday), Session 2 (Just the Elite 8 game on Saturday), or All Session (all 3 games).

Omaha ($631 AVG) is now the second most expensive regional we've ever tracked behind Sprint Center last year ($652 AVG), which was also driven up for Kansas, as is the case this year in Omaha.

I also asked him if that’s likely to change because Michigan fans travel well. Ralph thinks the prices were baked in as if there was at least one well-traveling program coming so it really matters if there’s a second. Is there? Ralph again:

Here's the percentage of visits by location that we've tracked to the West Regionals since the 12th. Texas is much higher than the other states BUT I will say that I wouldn't read that deeply into this yet as I'd say the traffic numbers are a bit too low to say Texas fans would travel better.

  • California - 59%
  • Texas - 12%
  • Florida - 3%
  • Michigan - 3%
  • Washington - 3%
  • Oregon - 3%

We’re having to squint and guess that A&M fans are average Texas school fans but it does seem that’s a high travel rate. On the plus side, UNC fans are still dumping their tickets, and have been since about 75% of the way through their game. The market is the market now: buy until it starts to dry up, if it ever does.

All Sessions or Some?

I think the three sessions are a better deal. There’s about a 50% markup in the secondary market if you’re buying separately right now, but that’s not the play: the play is to either buy all sessions now or buy a single session if we win. That’ll come down of course once half of the fans in town watched their teams lose, and this could very well be you. How much does it come down? Probably 50%. So either you’ll be in the position of having to sell a ticket if you lose, or having to buy one if you win, or you’re good. It evens out, so it’s more about if you think Michigan will win I guess to save yourself the hassle.

Paper Tickets Only

The rest are mental.

Lots of questions about the the e-ticket situation. Mich fan in AZ:

I looked all over for the Internet to buy an e-ticket but everything apparently only delivers via snail mail (UPS, FedEx, etc.) I live six hours from LA though so that kind of delivery won't be easy. Any tips on buying a ticket on Thursday should they win? Not sure I want to drive that far for an attempt at buying from a scalper, but I really want to go if they make it to Saturday!

There are no e-tickets. Your last-minute online purchases won’t work well for this one because the Staples Center is only offering printed tickets for this game/session. That can be a bummer for people traveling since getting a ticket overnighted isn’t easy. There are pickup centers for some ticket dealers near the stadium and that’s often your best bet.

Sell Upgrades?

A lot of fans are wondering if you can shed the non-Michigan session:

Does anyone know if the later game has its own ticket stubs (which would allow me to sell them separately), or is the same ticket used for admission to both games? I ordered my tickets via StubHub and they're paper tickets that won't arrive until tomorrow.

No, tickets for the Thursday games are sold as a “session,” with Michigan-A&M the first session and FSU/Gonzaga the second.

The tickets say “NO READMITTANCE” on them so technically you can’t sell yours to a Zags fan outside when you walk out, but I’ve heard stories of this working anyway, especially if it’s not a typical gate (some friends used the smokers area for this exchange in Detroit last weekend). If you have the late-game session you can get away with buying crap tickets and getting there as the first game is leaving, offer $10 for their seats, and now you’re up front for cheap. For the earlier game if you want to sit low you have to pay full price for both sessions, but if you’re leaving you can recoup some of that if your seat is worth selling. Keep that in mind if you’re deciding whether to spring for better seats I guess.

Don’t Trust Scalpers

From multiple people they have a rampant bad-copy problem around the Staples Center. I generally recommend not using scalpers but this time really don’t. However you can watch the scalpers and intercept their clients—not a nice thing to do but hey, you’re from out of town, and they’d rather do business with you.

Alumni Association Event

The LA Alumni Club is hosting a pre-game tailgate at Tom's Urban at LA Live (the bar across the street from the stadium).

Laker Fan Tips & Tricks

These are all contributions from the board or my one buddy who lived in Los Angeles, since my LA trips have never included basketball games (though I’ve been to the convention center next door a few times).

  1. Take the train! You don’t want to deal with parking, or LA traffic if you can avoid it. You can take the Metrolink from LAX to Pico Station. If you’re already in a car, several people suggested parking at the Westside Pavilion and taking the Expo line. Apparently there’s beer on the train (via readers only the Amtrack)
  2. Don’t be tall. If you think Fielding H. Yost was stingy with the seat size, you haven’t met the City that Never Eats. Your seat will be tiny and your legs cramped so stand up and walk around during commercial breaks, and try to get an aisle seat if possible.
  3. Red coats are security but you can ask them questions—they’re trained to be helpful.
  4. If you have an American Express they have an “AMEX Lounge” on the suite level that your card gets you into. No charge for entry, beers, drinks and food available.
  5. Don’t go in the LA Live entrance with the rest of the cattle—walk up to Figueroa to the back entrance.

Final Four and Beyond?

No idea, but I’ll be back next week if it matters.

UPDATE: Ralph saw this and emailed me with a quick note:

According to the official NCAA Ticket Exchange, Final Four ticket prices have seen, on average, a 10% increase since the beginning of the tournament.

Ticket Watch Jumps Out a Window

Ticket Watch Jumps Out a Window

Submitted by Seth on November 15th, 2017 at 8:00 AM

So we haven’t talked in awhile. If anybody here had any problems finding Rutgers, Minnesota, or Maryland tickets as gametime neared let me know. I used the “gawd these teams suck” period of Michigan’s schedule to put together a Christmas HTTV (announcement later today), plan a tailgate (announcement later today) and try to get this app out onto Android (announcement…now).


imageWe got a lot of feedback for Tidget (www.tidgetapp.com) after the iTunes test. If you’re going be selling your OSU ticket and want to make sure it goes to an MGoBlogger, may I recommend the only ticket market that has nobody BUT MGoBloggers on it?

If you’re wondering what this is about, we made an app for on-site ticket trading so you can sell an extra ticket from your tailgate and buyers will find you on a map. It’s secure (works over Paypal for now) and since we’re just telling MGoBlog readers about it so far that’s the entire community. If you haven’t yet, take that link and sign up now and you’ll get to use the app for free when it actually launches, and have a chance to play around with it while we Beta it. We’ll try to do that a bit for Ohio State since fees for online ticket markets get HUGE when you’re talking the kind of get-in prices Ohio State demands.

Speaking of Ohio State demand:



Seats Aug 31 Sep 13 Sep 27 Oct 4 Oct 18 Now
Midfield $500 $500 (nc) $545 (+45) $545 (+45) $458 (-83) $418 (-40)
The 35 $382 $352 (-$30) $436 (+85) $436 (+85) $359 (-101) $306 (-53)
The 25 $341 $410 (+$69) $384 (-26) $384 (-26) $366 (-18) $272 (-94)
Goal line $315 $360 (+45) $305 (-55) $305 (-55) $273 (-32) $255 (-18)
Endzone $245 $296 (+$51) $246 (+4) $246 (+4) $233 (-71) $195 (-38)

and for those going to Madison,


Seats Sep 27 Oct 4 Oct 18 Now (^Deck)
Midfield $256 $243 (-13) $262 (+19) $207 (-55) $157
The 35 $240 $274 (+34) $226 (-48) $182 (-44) $156
The 25 $230 $229 (-1) $209 (-20) $165 (-44) $122
Goal line $183 $173 (-10) $172 (-1) $127 (-45) $116
Endzone $154 $150 (-4) $150 (-) $122 (-28) -

Tickets for the Game started dropping as soon as they started selling, which really had nothing to do with the rote blowouts of bad teams so much as delayed reaction from getting blown out at Penn State.

Put your mind in the mode of the guy you want to buy from: he watches…that. Figures he’ll wait and see what happens with this Peters guy. It’s alright but Michigan is just running over bad teams. “Okay, should I go? Let’s see what they’re selling for. Eh, just $230, I paid that much to get these in the first place if you count the seat donation. How long has this can of Vernors been on my desk? Has Marla noticed it? I really need to get a new chair. Ooh, Twitter.”

This is Seth makes a rule out of nowhere of the week: there’s no reason for sellers to offload tickets they might want to use until they’re up against the sunset. So you don’t really know what the market is for a game until you get there. Most of the factors that could drive up a price have occurred way out: the team is good, the opponent is good, the opponent is a rival. Those that can drive down a price occur a few days before: weather, family things, cumulative apathy effect, let’s see how I feel that day, your buddy Jason cancels because he can’t get sick or the whole hospital will collapse, and then of course the highly common “Why was I reading Twitter instead of selling my seats when I decided to four weeks ago?”



The cheapest are usually the Friday before the game, unless it’s a Football Armageddon situation where there’s enough “I’ll go if there are tickets available” people to make up for the “yeah, I really need to get those leaves picked up” people. State games are like that. The Game would be like that in competitive years.

We’re actually at a window for Ohio State right now: if you order mail tickets they’ll get to you in about a week, so 11/22. If you wait another day you could save maybe a little money, but also risk running into the Post Office day off for Thanksgiving, and then you’re into Black Friday when the USPO is in post-holiday/everybody bought shit today/and they’re sending Christmas cards! mode. The two seats together in the charts above are still around $200 but you can find a single right now for $160 and that’s basically what The Game price will be.

Unfortunately there are a ton of Buckeyes who fit in that “I’ll go if there are seats available” so I don’t think a Wisconsin loss will have as big of an effect on the ticket prices; it will mean a lot of Michigan fans replaced by Buckeyes.

A win at Wisconsin will jack them up by $50-$70 from where they are now, so either jump on those immediately or wait it out and buy on Thanksgiving or the day after. Also it will feel good. Also, not counting on it.

Last year I wound up getting into Ohio Stadium at $270. Tickets were $100 more than that at this point. For the 2015 game I said to buy at $200 and then I found a really good single seat (Section 2) for $180 at a tailgate.

By the way, as for weather considerations, currently the forecast says it’ll be a normal Game day—slate gray and chilly but not freezing or precipitous. The market won’t realize this, but if it does get crummy out, YOU SHOULD GO TO THE GAME. You know about J.T. Barrett’s weakness, and you know how good he can be when he’s not discomfited by nature’s intrusion. If you weren’t going to this game but tickets drop to the $135 range on Black Friday morning because of an ugly weather report, jump on that and go, dude.

Ticket Watch is Your Rival Too

Ticket Watch is Your Rival Too

Submitted by Seth on October 18th, 2017 at 8:00 AM


Okay it’s time to talk road tickets.


If you used Tidget (www.tidgetapp.com) for State week and didn’t imagecontact me please get your complaints in now, since we’re about to send the developers a big “fix all these things please” caseload. All of you who already wrote us thank you a ton! The big one was how it searches your area: in the future it will default to a 10-mile radius of where you’re standing, and when you drag the map outside that radius it will refresh. Also signals when Sparties are in town. The other complaint is there was only one guy selling for most of the afternoon, but it’s just a small handful who were using it. Next rollout, including the Android version, is scheduled for 10/26.


Seats @PSU Ru Minn @Md @Wis OSU
Midfield $427 (-97) $123 (-22) $151 (-21) $140 (-11) $262 (+19) $458 (-83)
The 35 $360 (-128) $83 (-11) $150 (-11) $140 (+7) $226 (-48) $359 (-101)
The 25 $360 (-37) $88 (-) $121 (-22) $118 (+7) $209 (-20) $366 (-18)
Goal line $357 (-9) $61 (-13) $114 (-7) $110 (+12) $172 (-1) $273 (-32)
EZ/UD $259 (+14) $48 (-8) $98 (-17) $73 (-3) $150 (-) $233 (-71)
Buy? thurs b4 at game for face at game thurs b4 next loss?

The ones I highlighted are from Stubhub and are two together. It’s rare SH has a good deal since they jack up the fees worse than anyone else—e.g. they’re grabbing $65 to facilitate this pair.

As for the rest, Homecoming continues to be a sick dog—that the get-in price continues to drop tells you that you really shouldn’t have trouble getting decent seats for $20 on Game Day. Minnesota is still falling and I still recommend getting those at face value. Ignore Maryland because I stopped counting lower obstructed view seats; a dropping get-in price means those are falling across the board.

Ohio State has starting to move some—if Michigan loses this weekend expect that to continue, and if we lose at Camp Randall that market will take off. If you think Michigan can win one or both of those, jump in at $233.

Wisconsin and Penn State are discussed in detail after THE JUMP.

Ticketwatch is Merely Perception

Ticketwatch is Merely Perception

Submitted by Seth on October 4th, 2017 at 2:08 AM


This is all wrong:

Look I have two younger brothers, I am on my fifth dog, and I am a proud graduate of an American public elementary school, so I know a thing or two about the old throwing-motion-fumble trick. First of all your footwork’s a mess, and anyway this isn’t the time or situation for it.

In the aftermath Iowa fans are all “eh, let’s go beat up on the Big Ten West.” That leaves us with the mess. A Spartan loss would have kept the bad news train rolling and the foils from getting hopeful. They’re coming.


Also coming: my app I keep plugging that will let you sell tickets to each other after finding each other on a map. The good news: iTunes just has to approve that version and then Apple phone users can test it out—if you’ve signed up we’ll let you know when it’s live, hopefully before the MSU game (it’s in iTunes’s hands now).


(click embiggens)

The bad news is the Android version is still too buggy to risk rolling out right now. That bums me out because I don’t have an iPhone. I’ll try to find somebody to try it out live on Saturday, and if I can maybe we’ll throw a prize in there for the testers or something. If you haven’t done so yet, go to www.tidgetapp.com (lead photo by Patrick Barron) and sign up pre-launch so you can use the app for free We’re at about 850 total but I don’t know how many are Apple vs Android. Goal is at least 1,000 of you by pre-launch.


Those are some bad fake tickets but there are others people have spotted that aren’t so easily detected. The real tickets don’t have a timestamp on them. Be careful whom you buy from when the scammers are out there. If you’re nervous, try to stay within people you know, or at least people you can track down, or use the ticket resellers—I can tell you from experience that security is most of the ballgame.


Right, dammit Iowa. Actually they didn’t do that much damage except to the “get me in the building” line. It’s still an expensive ticket, but other nobody seems that particular about where they sit:

Yard line 8 weeks ago 4 weeks ago 2 weeks ago Last Week Current Face + 50% PSD
Midfield $540 $540 $480 $409 $317 (-92) $470
The 35 $396 $396 $376 $350 $290 (-60) $405
The 25 $370 $360 $333 $336 $278 (-58) $325
Goal line $249 $243 $360 $267 $268 (+1) $245
Endzone $249 $246 $225 $247 $226 (-21) $164

For not much more than the get-in price you can get a pretty good seat. Those who were trying to recoup Michigan’s high PSD for the midfieldish are going to be out of luck. SeatGeek had a $323 ticket (just one) in Row 58 of Section 2.

And it’s going down. One reason is the market is finally opening up. While worriers on the bye week got some trading done at $250-ish when they announced the start time, and as of Sunday the “let’s get this taken care of” responsible types were buying at $240ish, the “I just realized I don’t want to take my daughter anymore” folks started realizing they have to offload those seats starting yesterday.

By Thursday it’s likely they’ll be joined by another group: the “I don’t want to sit in the wind and rain”-hairs:


My advice here is figure out what you want to pay, and then wait until a good seat opens up at that price point. The get-in should get down to about “$200 but I’ll only sell them to other Michigan fans” in a few days. Be patient, work your contacts, and don’t be afraid to walk away. A buddy and I were haggling on Sunday with a guy who kept trying to bump us to $270 each (direct) for decent corner seats. I bet he’d leap at $240 right now.


Let’s go to the board!

Seat MSU       @IU      @PSU    Rut       Minn       @MD      @Wis     OSU       
Midfield $317 (-92) $89 (+17) $524 (-17) $144 (-2) $172 (-26) $151 (+17) $243 (-13) $541 (-5)
The 35 $290 (-60) $69 (+15) $488 (+32) $94 (+2) $161 (-) $133 (+11) $274 (+35) $460 (+24)
The 25 $278 (-58) $71 (+6) $397 (+2) $88 (+7) $143 (+24) $111 (+7) $229 (-1) $384 (-)
Goalline $268 (+1) $66 (+1) $366 (+37) $74 (+25) $121 (+14) $98 (+20) $173 (-10) $305 (-)
Endzone $226 (-21) $50 (-) $245 (+16) $56 (+7) $115 (+20) $76 (-2) $150 (-4) $304 (+58)
Buy? at $200 at game thurs b4 at game for face at game now. at $250

For the Maryland seats I stopped counting the low seats behind the Maryland bench after readers reported they can’t see from there. The Wisconsin seat was just one but I thought about buying it. Playing Northwestern close and losing more important players to injury soured some Wisconsin fans, but they’re bound to perk up after they trounce Nebraska and remember they’re 5-0 and that last year’s game was (thanks to some wild kicking) really close. Sometimes you come across an angry dude who wants to sell his ticket I guess?

Ohio State’s get-in price leapt up past $300, which is to be expected. The stable prices for better seats suggest that’s an early market bereft of sellers; I wouldn’t buy now, but I would consider an offer from a friend to buy them for face plus half of their PSD.

I added a line at the bottom with my thoughts on when to buy. Rutgers is a dog. Maryland and Minnesota can only go down. IU nobody has ever had problems getting tickets to, and they’re emboldened right now from playing Penn State tight. As for PSU, they think they’re on a march to the playoffs—that fast defense might in fact get them there, but they’re still relying on guard types at the tackles and James Franklin is running the clock. That was just announced as a night game officially so stay the hell away until the excitable PSU fanbase calms down from its Generic Football Abstrate Experience AT NIGHT!!!!! moment.

Ticket Watch Talks Agricultural Risk Management

Ticket Watch Talks Agricultural Risk Management

Submitted by Seth on September 27th, 2017 at 7:59 AM


Why hello there, secondary ticket market. You were so dead all season we almost forgot you existed. No data changed but the date on the calendar. That was plenty: Michigan is 4-0 with a bye before Michigan State, and on Monday half the fanbase started looking for State tickets. Then they started buying up other tickets. Can you find seats? When should you buy? Let’s look where things stand, then see if history is any guide.


Yes we are still planning to launch the app that lets you buy and sell each other tickets on gameday using a map.


(click embiggens)

Tidget is in the phase now where the developers are sending a version with lots of “still working on that” and “what do you think?” flags on it to Tres and myself. By next week I want to have a version that is super-raw but ready for a couple of friends and volunteers (yes I’ve noted you guys in the comments) to go wandering around somewhere with bad reception and see if it’s working. As expected, the whole ballgame is minimal data so we’re keeping this thing light.

Reminder: if you go to www.tidgetapp.com (lead photo by Patrick Barron) and sign up pre-launch you get to use it for free when we do get it out there.


It’s been kind of funny watching the prices since Monday, because they started at around $250 (remember add 22% to StubHub) and they keep coming back to that price point. What I think happened is the buyers who decided to manage risk by snatching up their seats inadvertently set the market price for the week. A few tickets will go on sale for that amount, then they get bought up until it gets to $260 and stops until someone goes back under $250 again.

Here’s my advice: DON’T BUY YOUR STATE TICKET AT $250. I’ll give you my reasons:

1. Only the get-in price is up. While the get-in price has gone up, look how soft the rest of those seats are right now:


Yard line 8 weeks ago 4 weeks ago 2 weeks ago Current Face +
Midfield $540 $540 $480 $409 $470
The 35 $396 $396 $376 $350 $405
The 25 $370 $360 $333 $336 $325
Goal line $249 $243 $360 $267 $245
Endzone $249 $246 $225 $247 $164

The last column takes the personal seat donation that season ticket holders had to pay and halves it, since people who bought those were basically paying that for access to the two rivalry games. What it shows is the ONLY seat that’s tracking significantly above what the ticket holder paid for it is the “get me in the building” price.

2. There are already lot of sellers out there. Further evidence that the market is too bullish right now is how many tickets are for sale. StubHub alone shows 1,174 end zone seats alone, with over a hundred available in several sections. Cheap season ticket holders are playing the market, trying to use their State seats to pay off a chunk of the package. Dave may be gone but Michigan still outrageously gouges their season ticket buyers—the best play they have to recoup the overpriced Air Force and Cincinnati tickets is to sell off the rivalry games.

3. The buyers are out in force. We’re at a weird moment in the cycle of this game because the long-rumored night game was finally announced, sending all the excited night game aficionados to the exchanges. You know who isn’t moving yet with the announcement? The bluehairs! I remember in 2014 watching those Penn State tickets shoot up early in the year and stay in the $200s even after the team proved unwatchable. There ended up being a bunch of them selling for cheap or going for free a day before. Granted that year was not a good sample for a lot of reasons, but the bluehairs who were giving away those seats weren’t doing it for late Hoke ennui; they get talked out of driving home at 11 o’clock at night. Those seats don’t tend to show on the TicketIQs and StubHubs, but they depress the market outside of the get-in price.

4. Michigan State has to play Iowa first. While we’re on a bye, State next week hosts a team that nearly took out Penn State in East Lansing. That score (let alone the finish) was closer than the game, however, and you can never discount Iowa going full Iowa. Beating Iowa risks Spartans into a frenzied last-minute hope spree and lock in a $200-ish price. A loss shouldn’t change things because a loss is wholly expected. This is a gamble, but it’s a gamble worth taking. Notre Dame’s win in East Lansing killed off most of the outside chance of a Spartan reawakening that adds a bunch of green. Those who will come will come anyway, and there are enough of them that the get-in price won’t drop below the Face+PSD50 mark I just made up.

5. The Bye The Bye The Bye. This game is two weeks away, so speculators are making up much of the sellers while the “oh crap I have to sell these” folks haven’t begun to feel stressed about that. Unless tickets become hard to come by, the prices always float high until the Thursday or Friday before the event. At this point all of the weather events, family emergencies, and changes of heart are way off in the future—nobody has to sell a ticket right now.

6. Michigan prices play for Michigan. Okay, Mrs. Lincoln, I want you to think back before THAT and remember how hard it was to get tickets to that play in the first place. Got that in your head? Yeah, that one ended up being $200 as of the Wednesday before the game. And it was tracking similarly to this year’s prices as of two weeks out. That was when Michigan State was a perennial contender and Michigan was newly Harbaughcized. It’s not MSU fans driving the price up this year—at least not any more than they did in 2012 when their team was too hopeless to notice Michigan was rickety.

So when and how much? I’m sticking with my $160 goal to get in the endzone. Face value plus half of someone’s PSD is basically face. As for the nicer seats, they’re liable to come down some more. If you get better than $125 for any ticket to this game you ought to buy the seller a meal in gratitude.


YD line MSU @IU @PSU Ru Minn @Md @Wis OSU
Midfield $409 (-71) $72 $540 $146 (+5) $198 (nc) $115 (!) $256 $545 (+45)
The 35 $350 (-26) $55 $456 $92 (-12) $161 (+61) $122 $240 $436 (+85)
The 25 $336 (-2) $65 $395 $81 (+10) $119 (+30) $104 $230 $384 (-26)
Goal line $267 (-93) $65 $329 $49 (+2) $107 (nc) $78 $183 $305 (-55)
Endzone $247 (+23) $50 $229 $49 (+20) $95 (+30) $78 $154 $246 (+4)

That one I highlighted is only a few rows up at midfield behind the Maryland bench, but labeled “obstructed view.” Maryland people: does that just mean you can’t see over the Maryland players or something?

Since the rest of the games aren’t moving a ton (and I’m still trying to learn about Wisconsin’s market) I’ll get into the rest of the schedule next week. But quickly: Penn State buy at $150, Rutgers find outside the gate for $10 or something, Minnesota $60ish, Maryland who knows probably crap because they’re out of QBs, Wisconsin looks to be $100-$125ish, and Ohio State won’t be less than $250 until we know the exact weather.

Ticket Watch Wanted Western to Win

Ticket Watch Wanted Western to Win

Submitted by Seth on September 13th, 2017 at 12:05 PM

Buried behind the excitement of Harbaugh: The TV Show was the Big Ten’s announcement that the horrible MSU-OSU on same years schedule will continue through 2021. That’s a major drag for Michigan ticket sales on years both rivals are away, and compounded by Jack Swarbrick insisting the ND resumption also be on the OSU/MSU schedule because Notre Dame’s athletic director measures success by how much pettiness he can get away with.

That’s all in the future, but it means we’ll have to start getting used to the current setup, and those of us who go into a season without seats must spend odd years watching the fluctuating ticket market for the big rivals. With Michigan State pulling off the upset over Western, and Ohio State getting Baker Mayfield’d, I figured it might be a good time to focus on the giants.



Yes, this feature is going to have an app. The app will let you put the ticket you’re selling on a map so you don’t have to leave your tailgate or change your route in to pick up or sell a seat on gameday. Wanna see it?


(click embiggens)

The prices will be hovering over the map pins, and those pins will be color-coded based on price (red=expensive, green=cheap, yellow=average) but those things aren’t programmed in yet. We just got the User Input Parameter done this week so we’re still on target to launch after the bye week.

We got 350 people to sign up from last week’s article and would like to get to 1,000 by launch. I haven’t talked about this outside of MGoBlog so for the start at least this will pretty much be our community ticket market. If you go to the site (lead photo by Patrick Barron) and sign up during pre-launch you get to use it for free when it does.



As expected there were empty seats in Dallas, and even for last week’s home opener I ended up giving a pair of tickets away to a guy at Demorest’s tailgate. Sellers weren’t letting them go for less than $45 outside the stadium on my way in, but I went in early.

I long expected Air Force to be the dog of the season and so did the school—you had to buy an Air Force ticket to get any of those special packs that included Michigan State. So already there are a bunch of seats for this game that were bought with the intent to sell. If you’re selling I say get what you can ASAP since the Cincy game didn’t exactly instill Michigan fans with a ton of confidence.

They’re still tracking at just under face online. This is that good corner I like right now:


The price table (remember sites that aren’t our sponsor TicketIQ add a ton of fees so don’t email me saying “But I saw it for $390 on StubHub!” because they’ll add $93.60 at checkout). As a rule add 22% to any StubHub price:

Yard line Air Force MICH ST Rutgers Minn OSU
Midfield $100 (-$67) $480 (-$60)  $141 (-$21) $198 (-$29) $500 (nc)
The 35 $90 (-$2) $376 (-$20) $104 (-$31) $100 ($-56)* $352 (-$30)
The 25 $66 (-$20) $333 (-$27) $71 (-$13) $115 (nc) $410 (+$69)
Goal line $65 (-$13) $360 (+$15) $58 (-$26) $107 (nc) $360 (+45)
Endzone $50 (-$18) $225 (-$20) $39 (-$1) $86 (nc) $296 (+$51)

*(I found this on Craigslist so I reported it but the online seats haven’t moved)

The $50 seats for Air Force are on Craigslist and below face. Again I’m very bearish on these—if you get to the game without tickets I bet you can score a pair for $30 easily and $20 if you try hard. Rutgers is sinking rapidly. Minnesota tickets aren’t moving.



I was really hoping State would lose to Western Michigan last weekend.

Meanwhile in ticket analysis, I was wondering if such a loss might kickstart the process of Spartan apathy bringing prices for that game down, but historically that hasn’t been true (e.g. when they lost to CMU—or feel free to name your own Sparty loss memories).

But I’ve played MSU ticket markets more than most, and back in the day when they were bad this was still a hot ticket. State fans come out of tradition, many just to tailgate and pick up a seat if they can within their price range. That creates a hard floor for these, and keeps them generally above face value.

Michigan fans however are acting differently. These tickets are moving quickly whenever they get a little below market. I think for every State fan who realizes the good times are over, there’s a Michigan fan who wants to show up just to make sure.

I linked a local guy on Craigslist as an example of where the market for this currently sits: if you want to make sure you get a seat, you have to get it from someone who bought these seats planning to sell them for a profit. Michigan did too good of a job jacking up the price of its packages and season tickets to recoup the value on these.

I think they’ll end up around $200.



Ohio State did lose, but ticket prices have only gone up. My running theory is the first loss is a warning that your team is vulnerable, but it takes two losses before there’s a major effect, unless it’s a loss to a team that’s really really bad.

Again, Michigan overcharged everyone for Air Force etc. because that was really pricing to the Ohio State tickets. The $300 range has some magnetism, though people are willing to let them go for $250 now, and that’s generally where they end up around the stadium on Game Day.

Ticket Watch Avoids the Shark

Ticket Watch Avoids the Shark

Submitted by Seth on August 31st, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Hi. New season means I get to explain what this is again. Ticket Watch is my quasi-regular feature on the secondary ticket market. My qualifications are I’m a lifetime (give or take some college years) scrounger. My pappy was a scrounger. His pappy was a scrounger. My mother’s father was a scrounger. My four uncles were scroungers. My two brothers are scroungers.


New season, if you’re planning to go to any games, also means it’s “crap I should start scrounging for tickets” season. The bad news is Michigan State and Ohio State will be expensive no matter what. The good news, well I have some good news actually:


Remember that one time I was thinking of bringing a printer to the stadium because last-minute ticket sales are just not very phone-functional and I hate scalpers? So right after that my best friend from college, an app developer who now lives in Atlanta, came into town and we started yapping about how that ought to work.

The think: If you’re a buyer why can’t you sit at your tailgate, drop a pin on a map and say “I have ticket(s) here,” and go about your business until your phone pings? If you’re buying, why can’t you pull up a map of sellers and the prices, pick one on your route, and go there? You two handle the ticket exchange—plus or minus any beers that also change hands in the process—the app handles the transaction. SOMEONE SHOULD TOTALLY DO THIS!

So he did it.



The name sounds like a portmanteau: ticket-widget: tidget. The true story is it’s a word my three-year-old got in her mouth one day then thought was so funny she stood in my office saying it then giggling for most of a morning. tidget teeheeheehee. tidget. Teeheeheeehee.


Anyway we’re gonna launch in a few weeks but since we wrote it specifically for the kind of people who read this article, if you go to the site (lead photo by Patrick Barron) and sign up pre-launch you get to use it for free when it does.




Market outlook: I told you not to pay over the already overpriced face for a Dallas ticket the same way we told you we think Michigan should be favored against Florida. That was before a) Hurricane Harvey (list of recommended donation sites), b) 12% of the Gators (and 67% of their key players) got suspended or injured, and c) Feleipe Franks was named the starter. This ticket now has officially tanked.


I saw one for $35 this afternoon on StubHub, which is $10 less than they’re charging for parking as if the whole stupid City of Arlington wasn’t one gigantic lot. You can find lower bowl seats for $150. And most of the unused tickets aren’t even in town yet! My advice if you’re going and haven’t bought seats yet is get them outside the stadium. Unfortunately the app won’t be ready yet but fortunately that means I don’t have to leave glorious early September Michigan to see this game.

[After THE JUMP: games you do want to go to]

Ticket Watch Plans Ahead

Ticket Watch Plans Ahead

Submitted by Seth on June 30th, 2017 at 2:35 PM

Season tickets are going out, which means this year’s market is about to start trading. Those of you who think in terms of hotels (cough cough stay downtown cough) and flights are already trying to figure out which game to come to, and securing seats. So I figured it’s a good time to preview this year’s secondary ticket market based on past trends.

I haven’t tried predicting the market this early before so bear with me. The data provide an enticingly safe shore to stick to, but I don’t know how much value to you I’d be if I ignored a few plausibly navigable lanes.

The home schedule and face pricing:


Movie Night

Where: Michigan Stadium

When: July 15th at 7pm

What Movie? Beauty and the Beast

Face: Free. Seating is like the spring game.

Worst-case scenario: A cartoon candelabra is whimiscal and endearing, but becomes grotesque in live-action. First you’ll feel as awkward as Hermione Granger looks, and feel even worse when your daughter’s crawling into your bed with nightmares for the next week. Speaking of nightmares…


HomeSure Lending Classic vs Florida in the Empty Heart of Texas



Where: Jerryworld, a post-apocalyptic cement hellscape between Fort Worth and Dallas, Texas

Face: $118 (upper deck, row 19, 40 yard line)

Current Secondary Price: $121 (way upper deck, corner, row 13)

Best value right now: Face. You can get a lower bowl seat for $225 right now.

Market outlook: I’m getting a lot of emails about this game because NFL stadium games overprice the face. This creates a weird market where you can still buy tickets from the ticket office and the secondary ticket market bottoms out at that face value. The only way such a market breaks is if one team suddenly becomes unwatchable (doubtful for the first game of the season) or on the ground outside the stadium when all those big groups of tickets are still unsold. This is a good college football game moved to charmless, soulless shrine to a megalomaniac, and unlike a bowl game Dallas’s weather on Labor Day weekend is going to be a significant downgrade from home (for the Michigan fans—Floridians welcome any excuse to get out of the swamp from June-October). However the Michigan-side tickets are already officially sold out.

Arlington is also a charmless giant parking lot with ridiculous parking fees so it’s difficult to get the whole ticket market out there like a bowl game would. I’ve wanted to try bringing an inkjet printer you can plug into your car then buying a last-minute ticket online so this might be the game to do that.

The big bit of advice for this one is the $10 per ticket to get out of the corners is worth it—this stadium was designed to get as many wallet-carrying organisms into it as possible, and the consensus is many (not all) of the crappy seats are particularly bad.

Worst-case scenario: Let’s never do this again.

[Hit THE JUMP for more pleasant afternoons, and evenings]