Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ecomonic times need to be considered in bowl game ticket sales

According to a Lincoln Journal Star report on Monday morning, the Nebraska athletic department had sold 8,100 Capital One Bowl tickets out of its 12,500-ticket allotment.

The secondary market is probably taking a toll on UNL sales, among other reasons (prices of airline tickets, hotels, rental cars, etc.).

Ticket sales have slowed considerably since the first-day rush. The Husker athletic department sold about 6,500 tickets on Dec. 5; the day after the bowl matchup was announced.

South Carolina has sold about 10,000 tickets from its allotment, according to a school spokesman.

In reading that brief bit of information, I could only hearken back to the only two Husker bowl games I went to in person. For the record, I am a native of Northern California (Napa, CA to be exact), who graduated the University of Nebraska in 1997 with a BA in journalism. I moved back home in 1998 and have been to five Nebraska football games in person (1998 at California, 2000 Fiesta Bowl vs. Tennessee, 2001 vs. TCU in Lincoln, 2007 Cotton Bowl vs. Auburn and 2008 vs. Western Michigan in Lincoln).

For the first three games, I was single. For the last two, I was married. I went to the Cotton Bowl because at the time I viewed it as my last chance to go to a Husker game in person before my first child was born. Juliette was born in March 2007. Little did I know that the 2007 season would bring the horrendous wreckage of the end of the Bill Callahan years. Fast forward to August 2008 with my wife and me expecting twins (now 3-year old Tommy and Danielle), I decided, “Well, I haven’t been back to Lincoln in seven years and we have the start of the Bo Pelini era. Maybe I’ll buy tickets to see us play Western Michigan. I’ll be a while before I can travel to a Husker game.”

When you factor in game tickets, plane tickets, hotels, food and other entertainment, you’re looking at a trip that gets over one thousand dollars.

You see, us Husker fans are a very self-congratulatory lot about being the classiest and travelling well. However, does going to the game and buying tickets make you any more diehard fan than one who watches the game at home or a watering hole?

Another thing you have to take into account is the present state of the economy. I know that’s an oversimplification but it’s true. We are facing unprecedented lows in the United States, at least anyone of my generation (39 years old). You have people losing their homes, losing their jobs and living on reduced wages. Even if you don’t have these issues, bills are not going away.

I remember the aforementioned Cotton Bowl trip where tickets were $90 a piece and that was on the cheap end. The question then becomes, where do you draw the line? Granted, we are all going to budget some money for entertainment whether we have jobs or families or otherwise.

So before anyone casts aspersions about ticket sales, just remember the times we face.

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