Ohio State: Major ticket price increase for "premium" games

Submitted by wile_e8 on January 24th, 2013 at 10:44 AM

Ohio State football: Big hikes on some tickets likely

Tickets for the best Ohio State football games are likely to become much more expensive.

If recommendations by the university’s Athletic Council are adopted next week by the board of trustees, the cost of the best home games will rise much more than the 13 percent that so-called non-premier tickets are expected to go up.

The Athletic Council will ask that two games for the 2013, ’14, ’15 and ’17 seasons be designated as “premier” games. Those games’ costs will range from $110 to $150. The price of the 2016 premier game, undoubtedly against Michigan, will cost $175. That’s 21/2 times the cost of last year’s $70 ticket.Wisconsin and Penn State are the most likely targets for premium status in 2013.

Although this is Ohio St., it will probably affect Michigan fans in a couple ways. First, anyone directly purchasing tickets to the 2015 UM/OSU game will be paying a lot more. But mostly I see this as a start of a trend that probably come to Michigan once DB sees another opportunity for more revenue. Not that I necessarily think that's a bad thing - when tickets were going on secondary markets for several times face value, that is a lot of money the athletic department could use going to people outside the organization. It'll also help deter ticket brokers buying blocks of tickets to resell if the profits won't be as big, leaving more tickets to actual Michigan fans.

Stuff like this could really hurt season ticket sales though - why pay a ton of money for the crappy games when you're going to be paying almost as much for tickets to good games as the guy buying them on the street?



January 24th, 2013 at 10:51 AM ^

I have to think that the corresponding tattoo value of those tickets also skyrockets.  Time to get that "REAL National Champs 2013" tramp stamp! 


January 24th, 2013 at 11:06 AM ^

As the OP mentioned, they are obviously aware of the prices on the secondary market and what customers are willing to pay for premium games. Doesn't make it any easier to swallow.

Currently Michigan season ticket holders have their prices set per game so they don't bear the added cost of the premium game. Hopefully should more hikes be on the way, that continues to be the case.


January 24th, 2013 at 12:08 PM ^

Student tickets are the same price for every game, just the price to validate them increases for premium games, like MSU this year cost an extra $20 to validate compared to the rest of the home games. So I'm guessing that the validation fee for OSU will just be higher, and each ticket will cost more for students.


January 24th, 2013 at 11:10 AM ^

I'd bet that Ohio would never have contemplated increasing prices had they not gone 12-0.  The pressure to win becomes stronger because losing teams do not fill stadiums.  There will, however, become a break point where ticket prices won't be supported.  

Fully agree as to the creampuff games.  You can't give tickets away for the Delaware States we play on occasion.


January 24th, 2013 at 11:14 AM ^

scheduling future pre-season opponents (2012 was pretty bad). if they bring in oregon and texas and florida, i can rationalize bigger tickets. i am sure michigan will follow further, but will expect us to pay more for the "event-i-ness" of the game, a la Air Force or some contrived pre-game event.

again, this is not a sudden death-knell but a signal of further future erosion. the conferece dilutes itself for more tv gain, then the universities turn around and ask for more money for an equal or lesser product so that they can throw more money into the hole of college athletics arms races.


January 24th, 2013 at 11:15 AM ^

It is the way of the world. I don't like it, but I don't exactly blame DB or Ohio for doing what they can to maximize profit. It is simple economics to charge as much as the market will bear, and I'm out of touch with how much it costs. Nonetheless, the likelihood of my going to "premium" games in the future (ND, Nebraska, and Ohio next year, Michigan State and Penn State the year after) continues to go down.

I mostly enjoy being a fan, but at the end of the day, I can't justify costs of $200 - $300 per person (tickets, travel, food, etc.) to simply go to a game for an afternoon or evening. Take my son or wife along? There's a lot of things they would rather do with $500 than go to a football game, especially when it can be DVR'ed, start watching about an hour after it starts, and spend maybe 2 1/2 hours watching in large screen HD in the comfort of home or a friends house, with free water, inexpensive snacks, beer, etc.


January 25th, 2013 at 12:10 AM ^

a ticket increase easier to pay. We have had the opportunity to meet a few non revenue student athletes over past year. They show us a great time tailgating in there yard. So having to pay a couple extra bucks to improve their college athletic experience is ok with me.


January 28th, 2013 at 6:41 PM ^

as a non-revenue alum...geez what will those poor gymnasts do without their trip to Cancun...sorry, this is getting out of hand with all the revenue mongering. It's getting tough enough to justify the new seat license, and add to that doubling the prices of 'prime games' and forcing your hand with overpriced concessions..time to watch from the comforts of home...it was fun, but I can see a ton of season tickets up for grabs, mine included.

There comes a point where keeping up with the Joneses becomes a futile effort in waste and bloat. Realizing that many facilities are aging and in need of repair, why do we suddenly need to rebuild everything? If I recall the entire baseball/softball complex was built on donations/external funding to aid University expenditures.

The market will bear what it can, but what folks are overlooking, DB included...when I pay for my season seats, I'm one of the 103,000 at Umass. Sorry StubHub allows for bloating of sales on prime games, it always has and always will be a 'seller's market' in the big games, even when it was nothing but scalpers on the streets. I know the cost of everything is going up everywhere on everything and yet in many sectors the pay for everyone in everything is headed the opposite direction.

Ultimately it is what it is, I won't be a part of the continued efforts, loyalty bedamned...


January 24th, 2013 at 4:49 PM ^

not profits.  Profits would go back to the owner, but there isn't an owner here - so the revenues are redistributed to the athletic department (including non-revenue sports, coaches salaries, buildings, etc.)

If they maximized profits, every non-revenue sport would be immediatly cut.

Wolverine 73

January 24th, 2013 at 11:38 AM ^

But the problem with this is you eventually squeeze many of the real fans out of the stadium or arena--as we see happening in a lot of pro sports.  Colleges should be guided by more than economics, however.  The college football (or basketball) game is a way to keep people connected with the school across generations.  The cost of attending ought to be reasonable enough that recent grads with families to raise and loans to pay off can easily afford to attend.  And if you want to evaluate it strictly economically, those are your future (if not present) donors and you want to keep them close to you.


January 24th, 2013 at 1:05 PM ^

The whole topic of economics is difficult. Who, after all, comprises a "real fan?" I'm "connected" to several teams (Michigan, Chicago Bears, White Sox, Bulls, local High School, kid's teams.) The reality, however, is that I won't go to Bears games, will occasionally go to cheaper Michigan games, will get a discounted ticket to the Sox, and will definitely go to high school and kids games. I'm simply not going to spend hundreds and hundreds to go to a game. The cost is just too steep. I fully agree that the regular Joe just can't afford to go anymore. Few people in my social strata go to Bears games, unless they score free tickets from well-connected types who can't make a game.

I do get a bit annoyed at all those posters who assume that only coattail, "Walmart Wolverines" are the ones being priced out of the picture.

There are several pieces to this, but the relevant ones for me:

  • Real income.
  • Disposable income.
  • Priorities.

My wife and I have income between $60,000 - 70,000. We are able to pay our bills, afford a mortgage, take vacations, etc. However, it simply isn't a high enough priority for us to pay a ton to go to games. If Michigan was a high enough priority, sure, I could go to games. But because of vacations, kids in sports, offerings, charitable contributions, going out with my wife on occasion, etc., etc., etc., we don't have enough disposable income to go, or to go often.

I don't resent those who have greater income. It doesn't bother me that some have different priorities for how they spend their money, and choose to go to more games (or more expensive games.)

If anything, I'm just saddened, and nostalgic for a time that has passed by. In the 70's and 80's, when I was in school and Bo was the coach, virtually anyone who wanted to go to a game, could go. Cider was cheap, water was plentiful, and $20 was a lot to pay for a ticket. From my perspective, it now has reached a point where to go to games, you either are wealthy, or put a high enough priority on being there that you make significant sacrifices elsewhere in your budget. In that sense, I'm no longer part of the Michigan community. I have ceded my place to others who either can afford more or care more.

Wolverine 73

January 24th, 2013 at 1:44 PM ^

The best way to tell a real fan is if the person digs into his own pocket to pay for a ticket, and sometimes goes to see the less desirable games, either because he loves the game or he loves the team.  Too often today, people are at sporting events to network and they talk through the entire game, ignoring anything happening on the field other than the home runs and TDs.  I do not consider those people to be real fans.


January 24th, 2013 at 11:58 PM ^

"I do get a bit annoyed at all those posters who assume that only coattail, "Walmart Wolverines" are the ones being priced out of the picture."

Many different types of fans are getting price out but in my opinion the non alums are mostly responsible for the increasing demand. Very few schools in the Big Ten have a non alum fan base like Michigan. Look at the attendance in Michigan Stadium. 100,000+ would be very difficult with only alums in the stands. Ticket increases really suck but I would rather that problem then struggling to get people to come to games like in East Lansing.

Ed Shuttlesworth

January 24th, 2013 at 11:40 AM ^

The face value of a big game major college football ticket has been well below its actual value for literally decades.  

 Take it from someone who was there: Street value of a student section Notre Dame ticket in 1981 was $60, face was probably $10, maybe less.   Why is it that the world could live with that disconnect for 50+ years, but it's now imperative that we give in to "simple economics" and "charging what the market will bear"?  


January 24th, 2013 at 11:41 AM ^

OSU probably figured out it makes more sense for them to bank the money instead of some scalper.

Realistically, it shouldn't change the secondary market pricing too much.  Just means people who want to sell tickets above face value will be getting killed on margins.

OSU is probably only one of a handful of schools who could get away with this because they seem to be good about every year.  If a team runs into a dry patch though, this will come back to bite them in the arse.


January 24th, 2013 at 11:42 AM ^

A few questions:

1.  What's going to happen to season ticket prices?  Will their price be raised the full amount? In the past, the benefit of buying one meant that you got a "deal" on the big games.  If a season ticket is just the sum of all the games, then what's the point?  Only the best seats in a stadium will be attractive now.

2.  (half-joking) Will MAC snack tickets be cheaper now?  It's fair to point to secondary markets and raise prices for big games, but what about the $30 EMU tix I see on stubhub?  That will determine whether this is really about responding to the market (1% likelyhood) or just another money grab to us adicts (99%).

Disclosure:  I'm an out of state alum now, but I don't think I'd buy season football tix even if I could at this point.  I'd probably scalp a few early season games and then just couchgate for the rest.  


January 24th, 2013 at 11:46 AM ^

1. Saves $$ intended for tickets

2. Puts new fangled 4k TV on layaway

3. Muddys up yard to resemble Pioneer after a rainstorm to get authentic tailgate experience

4. ?????

5. Same experience, less money, no 16 hours spent on the road (mostly in Ohio)..... in short Profit.  


January 24th, 2013 at 11:54 AM ^

According to the article UM already does this. 

"Michigan, for example, charged $70 for most games in 2011 but $85 for the Notre Dame, Nebraska and Ohio State games. In 2012, Michigan State cost $95, and all others were $75. "

I'd guess if OSU doesn't see their ticket sales dip to much, DB will start increasing the cost of the 'premium' games on the schedule. 




January 24th, 2013 at 12:18 PM ^

Honestly, this is a good idea!  It is stupid to sell a ticket for $70 that you know will go for $250 on StubHub.  

Additionally, as mentioned above, you need to protect your season ticket holders.  I think premium costs are good, so as long as season tickets holders don't get charged the premium.  Or if you charge them a premium for Notre Dame / Ohio, you better knock off money to watch Eastern Michigan or another MAC school.  


January 24th, 2013 at 12:20 PM ^

Only bad thing is you will have to buy season tickets or 3 or 4 game ticket packs to get the premium games as well.  I will get pissed if I have to pay $150 for osu and stuck with $80 for eastern michigan and  central nevada...you get the idea..


Prices of non premium games you can find on line for half of face value aren't going down with ad ticket prices.....so it still may come out better to get the tickets on line.