The demand for tickets to bowl games, especially BCS bowls, isn’t down. However, fans are smart enough not to buy them at an inflated price off their universities, who are forced to sell them that high because of their deals with the BCS.
It wasn’t that surprising when news of Baylor and Central Florida being unable to sell all of their tickets for the Fiesta Bowl. Two relatively small schools football-wise, without any significant tradition, playing very far away from home, even though big bowl games are quite new to them both.
Baylor sold 12,000 out of the 17,500 allotment, Central Florida returned over 10,000 tickets to Fiesta Bowl organizers. In truth, it doesn’t really matter to organizers, because the schools are still paying for the tickets.
The more surprising news has been Ohio State struggling to sell their tickets to the Orange Bowl against Clemson. They’ve been selling them for prices that range from $90 to $240, before we even start to mention the travelling costs from Ohio to South Florida. So far, the Buckeyes have been able to sell 7000 of the 17500 allotment. There will be plenty of Buckeyes in the stands to root for their team against Clemson, only they won’t be buying their tickets where its more expensive.
Last year Florida State sold less than half its allotment while Northern Illinois couldn’t get rid of 7,000 tickets. In 2012 Clemson and West Virginia were forced to eat a combined total of more than 15,000 tickets.
The secondary market offers much cheaper options; 50% cheaper. There’s no reason for students and families already paying hundreds and more of dollars in travel and accommodation to get ripped off by the Bowl organizers as well, while the big losers from all of this are the schools themselves, who are forced to “Eat up” the value of the unsold tickets.
The Rose Bowl and BCS national championship games are a different story. They do sell themselves just for the name and the prestige of the event, not to mention Michigan State alumni waiting a very long time to find themselves with a chance to play in Pasadena. But in general, the system is wrong, as the only way the teams can reject selling high price tickets to their customers is by refusing to go to that specific bowl game.