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]




Since Dallas is a dud I thought I’d use this week’s TW to get into getting into Michigan Stadium. If you’re doing a road trip, which you should be looking at hotels already, those ticket markets haven’t really heated up. Honestly you can wait for a lot of the home slate too.

A quick reminder of my gravitational theory of ticket pricing: Face Value will pull anything just under face to face, and prices just over face back down to face. Many sellers are trying to hit that plus whatever fees to recoup costs (lost avoidance is one of those human psychological things we do that drive Vulcans nuts).

For home tickets, however, recouping often means the Personal Seat Donations. Here’s what people paid for their Michigan tickets this year:


Yard line PSL Cincy AF MSU RU Minn OSU TOTAL
Midfield $630 $100 $85 $155 $105 $90 $155 $1,320
The 35 $500 $100 $85 $155 $105 $90 $155 $1,190
The 25 $370 $85 $70 $140 $90 $80 $140 $975
Goal line $210 $85 $70 $140 $90 $80 $140 $815
Endzone $78 $75 $55 $125 $75 $70 $125 $603

Note: getting into the lower midfield sections often requires other donations or great-grandparents who were ushers plus other donations. Even with the PSDs, because these are the numbers printed on the tickets, a lot of the action, especially early, will revolve around the above.

When a ticket price breaks loose from its face value you can see some big movement. Ohio State tickets will easily triple their face; Rutgers tickets you’ll be lucky to offload for half.

Now, if you actually spread out each game’s share of the mandatory seat donations the prices would look more like this:


Yard line Cincy AF MSU RU Minn OSU TOTAL
Midfield $191 $163 $297 $201 $172 $297 $1,950
The 35 $172 $147 $267 $181 $155 $267 $1,690
The 25 $137 $113 $226 $145 $129 $226 $1,345
Goal line $115 $94 $189 $121 $108 $189 $1,025
Endzone $86 $63 $144 $86 $80 $144 $681

But understand, recouping $86 for Air Force endzone tickets is not happening unless it’s behind the uprights and Nordin proves punting obsolete from everywhere this Saturday. Season ticket holders don’t think in terms of “Air Force is 10% of my ticket cost, 10% of my PSD is…” They see the face and they see the opponent.

Here’s that rubric in current resale pricing (2 tickets together in that section) and then I’ll show you what it would cost after fees to get season tickets on the open market right this moment:


Yard line Cincy AF MSU RU Minn OSU TOTAL
Midfield $169 $167 $540 $162 $227 $500 $1,765
The 35 $144 $92 $396 $135 $156 $382 $1,305
The 25 $134 $86 $360 $85 $115 $341 $1,121
Goal line $102 $78 $243 $84 $107 $315 $929
Endzone $95 $68 $246 $40 $86 $245 $780

This is the school getting reasonably close to easy presale market price. It also demonstrates a point I’ve been making about the PSDs: you’re paying the upcharge to get Michigan State and Ohio State tickets. Rutgers may be homecoming but it’s not going to draw.

It was sort of interesting that the get-in endzone seats wound up more expensive, but that’s not much of a surprise. All of the “get me in the building” traffic focuses on those seats and drives the price up some when the market is high. You can use that as a gauge to show that this is a very bullish market right now.

That’s why I said “easy presale market price.” These are not average prices nor are they what you’re likely to sell them for later in the year. These prices factor in all of the comfort of knowing you have a ticket well in advance, and all of the hassle of having to get them later, and most importantly the impossible optimism of most seat-buying fans. Not everyone has been paying close attention to what Sam says about the secondary; the market is acting like it’s Harbaugh Year 3 and the Ohio State game is going to have two undefeated teams. Brains may say otherwise, but that doesn’t always translate, especially this far out.

In reality you’ll be able to find Rutgers tickets for the price of a Rutgers, and Air Force will drop considerably after the Cincy game because it’s not of great interest. One of those days it’s bound to rain. And Michigan State fans are propping up the MSU ticket right now too.

If you’re going to sell, you might as well sell now. If you’re planning on beating face (and real face) all year, I’ll be around.



Little has changed yet from my Season Tickets Preview two months ago.



Hockey ticket prices are going to explode this year. The Ohio State ones (Friday before The Game) are already in the $80 range and I can’t even find Wisconsin seats.



Losses drop ticket prices as a general rule but the BIG loss really set the market. Michigan fans were still in after Iowa, the Orange Bowl was kind of a letdown and thus not too hard to get into. If a team (say, MSU) takes an early punch, look down the schedule and see if there’s a knockout blow to justify waiting a bit longer. If one comes (e.g. MSU losing to BYU last year) things will change rapidly.



August 31st, 2017 at 9:28 AM ^

I'm not sure why, but the stats on ticket prices alway intrigued me.  The app is a sweet idea that I will definately check out for the next game.


August 31st, 2017 at 12:25 PM ^

Was waiting to nab Cincy tickets in case the good guys lost in TX. I nabbed them last week when I realized that wasn't gonna happen. Two goal line seats 75$+ fees. Taking my daughters to their first game and have to be inside as the band takes the field! (I already had two from a friend)


August 31st, 2017 at 10:03 AM ^

Signed up for the app even though I have season tickets and pay the big bucks to sit on the 50.  The price is worth it to me (although my Buckeye wife tends to disagree).  I'll test out the app when my kids come into town later in the season.


August 31st, 2017 at 10:23 AM ^

I think you have a couple of errors. First of all, what appears on each ticket as the face value is NOT what season ticket holders pay. The cost (not including the PSD) was $430 per seat, no matter where the seats are. Also, in your PSD Adjusted chart, I think you included the POS twice in each price category.


August 31st, 2017 at 11:35 AM ^

What's the present state of the laws concerning selling tickets?  

Is selling a ticket above face permissible? 

If Tidget simply brings seller and buyer together, with negotiations on price to follow verbally, then the app doesn't get involved.  But if the app gives the seller an opportunity to advertise a going price, if that's above face and not permitted, then what?

I'm just curious about the mechanics of this and current Michigan law on such things.


August 31st, 2017 at 11:07 AM ^

As somebody who was a long-time season ticket holder now moving back into the individual game purchase market this feature is SO helpful.  Thanks for putting it together!

I'm so grateful in fact I will now go back and read three Draftegeddon's as a small token of my appreciation.


August 31st, 2017 at 11:23 AM ^

will this be flooded by scalpers providing false information?
... "oh, sorry.. I JUST sold those $75 tickets, but I have a pair for 350.."


August 31st, 2017 at 11:47 AM ^

For the endzone seats in your table (which I have), the cost is $430/seat for season tickets (plus a $10 renewal fee plus the $78 PSD). The "face value" on the tickets does not indicate how much you paid for the ticket for season ticket holders.  Even adding up all the fees, it "only" comes out to $518/seat as opposed to the $525 "face value" (which does not include the transaction or delivery fees from the ticket office if you buy from them).


Also, it the second table, you appear to have added the PSD twice, as the totals form the 1st and 2nd table should be the same.