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Posted on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 6:47 p.m.

Big Ten says it's not paying fans to attend its football title game; Is someone?

By Kyle Meinke

This story was updated at 6:47 p.m.

It's safe to say Big Ten Conference officials didn't want to begin their first football championship weekend by announcing it would not pay fans to attend the title game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Yet, here we are.

A peculiar Craigslist ad was posted at 9:24 p.m. Tuesday requesting "seat-fillers" for a Saturday night event in Indianapolis. It did not explicitly say it was for the Big Ten championship game, but did indicate attendees "must have red or dark green casual clothing" and be able to tolerate crowds.

They would be paid for attending.


The Big Ten championship trophy.

Jeff Sainlar |

The Big Ten denied it was behind the ad in an email to this afternoon. It later tweeted from an official Twitter account: "Fans, please be aware, regarding the Big Ten Football Championship Game, the Big Ten is NOT paying fans to attend. #B1GFCG."

The Big Ten recently announced tickets are still available for its first championship game, which will feature Michigan State (10-2) and Wisconsin (10-2). On Stubhub, a seat can be had for as little as $9. obtained a copy of an email that was sent to someone who responded to the Craigslist ad, which has since been deleted. It read:

"Thanks for expressing interest in helping us fill empty seats on Saturday night. We have gotten your e-mail address, and will be sending out details Saturday morning to match the expected number of needed seat-fillers. Our client has asked for discretion about this opportunity, as "seat-filling" is behind-the-scenes aspect of this event production.

"On the day of the event event, we will designate a parking garage and validate your parking. Seat fillers will be assigned seats inside or near the event close to the event start time. We expect fillers will need to be checked in around 6:30pm on Saturday. The event itself begins shortly after 8pm, and we expect it to conclude close to midnight. You will receive payment at the end of the evening upon turning in the paperwork given to you at the beginning of the evening.

"No experience is necessary, and there are no age, sex, or race requirements. We are asking that all participants wear red or dark green t-shirts and/or hats.

"This is an exciting opportunity to be paid to see a live sporting event! We look forward to seeing you on Saturday."

The email was signed "ICC." A spokesperson for the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce said the body was not involved, and doesn't go by "ICC" anyway. It goes by GICC.

John Dedman, vice president of communication for the Indiana Sports Corporation, an organizer of the title game, said "seat-fillers" have never been requested in his six years with the group.

That tenure includes staging other conference tournaments, a Final Four and next year's Super Bowl.

Dedman said the ISC was bombarded today with media requests seeking comment, and that damage control was difficult because it was a travel day for Big Ten and event officials.

"The most frustrating part is there's no way to prove it's not you," he added. "But I feel very secure when I tell you no one's trying to find seat-fillers for this game. The demand simply is too high."

Michigan State sold out its allotment of tickets, but Wisconsin did not. It returned the remaining tickets, which were made available to the public Wednesday morning. Seats remain available.

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.



Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 6:05 p.m.

For everyone that thinks they're informed about this, championship game tickets were sold out within the first hour they went on sale this past summer. Also, please read the below link. It's a conversation with the person who created the fake ad. There is no company behind this. It is a fan of a team that didn't make the championship game. Go Green! A CONVERSATION WITH THE B1G SEATFILLER HOAXSTER <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 4:25 p.m.

HOAX: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 1:47 a.m.

Empty seats are not really a suprise seeing the diluted representation of the big ten. Dumtonio bragged about the usual teams not being there but ticket sales tell the true story. Nobody cares about moo u. Even the BTN talking heads suggested that there would be more interest if Michigan were playing the Badgers. Thugs are not all that interesting to watch and people really prefer tradition. The winningest program in ALL of collgeg football would sell the place out. I bet the big ten can not wait for Hoke to get his recruits and system in place. Sparty will go back in their hole and the world will be right. Tickets for the championship game will be next to impossible to get. GO HOKE GO BLUE!!!!!


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 6:06 p.m.

4 years and counting. See you in Indy! Oh wait, you're staying home. Go Green!


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 12:16 a.m.

To the 6:47pm update...OK; Sparty fan are going but Badger fans did not sell out. This is not a 50-50 deal. Not sure how many general public seats were available. Kind of embarrassing to know less Badger fans attending than MSU folks. Bottom line: B1G Champsionship game is not a sell out. Indy itself is a basketball town, Hoosier fans alike, have no inerest in this game, likewise Purdue or Notre Dame fan living near Indy. It is sad to see this game as not sold out. Personally, I would have liked to see a mid afternoon kick off time, not 8:15 PM. I get footballed out by that time of day, except when Michigan played Nortre Dame under the lights.

Eric Hensel

Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 11:01 p.m.

The real catch 22 here is the decision between wearing red and green. Cringe


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 10:57 p.m.

More questions than answers on this one...where are the Sparty fans? What about Badger fans? Sounds like very poor marketing by the B1G. Commish Jim Delaney has botched everything from the stupid B1G logo to the failed marketing of this champsionship game. Not to mention letting Missouri go the SEC and all of the expansion momentum. Maybe we better think seriously about a Michigan-Ohio State rematch in a B1G champsionship game sooner than later.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 10:38 p.m.

Good article. It brings up many valid and interesting points. items such as - home field advantage, entering a new factor and excitement to conference records, head to head, etc.. - outdoor football in December, hell the MAC used to do it why can't the B1G at least try it? - How many times have the Hoosiers and Boilermakers sold out this year? Who made the decision to host the CCG in Indy? It's interesting for a variety of reasons, from Corporate sponsorship and perception, to fan base loyalty = THIS IS THE FIRST B1G CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME WHY ARE THERE TICKETS STILL TO BE HAD? It's a good article, well done.

David Briegel

Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 10:29 p.m.

I can't imagine anything more boring than playing the same team two weeks in a row! And if they split, what have we proved? This happens in the NFL and it just isn't fun.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 10 p.m.

Huh? What? Did I miss something?....Someone in Ann Arbor cares about who is in the title game when Michigan isn't for free or otherwise?...


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 9:48 p.m.

Can I wear Dark Green and Red at the same time???? These are also holiday colors.. Maybe the event is a big Christmas Tree lighting celebration at 8:00 PM If the colors cannot be worn at the same time this it is probably a football game.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 9:28 p.m.

I'm a Badgers fan who will be at the game. Indy is just four hours south of Ann Arbor so it's closer than a trip to Madison (and the annoyance known as Chicago traffic isn't in the way). But I can understand why tickets have moved slowly. Neither team knew they'd be in the game until several days ago. Fans have at least several weeks notice to plan for a bowl game. And Indy isn't exactly a warm, vacation destination like where most bowls are located.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 3:35 p.m.

why do you insist on not calling Michigan State, MSU? Its like a third grader calling people doody heads because it is the only insult they know. If you want to be taken seriously , try to do it with out insulting people

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 10:42 p.m.

Nebraska had lost 3 conference games going into this weekend--wisky, NW, and UM. Going into this weekend MSU had lost only one conference game--against Nebraska (it has one non-conference loss to Notre Dame). Even had MSU lost this weekend, it would have won the division. When Nebraska lost and MSU beat Indiana on 11/12, MSU had the division sewn up. So, yes, Wisky fans are to be excused for not snapping up tickets until after playing PSU. But MSU fans had a week before that to buy tkts. GN&amp;GL


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 9:46 p.m.

Ghost I guess I mistakenly thought MSU had to beat Northwestern last Saturday in order to clinch. Couldn't they and Nebraska have finished the last week with two losses and Nebraska would have won the head-to-head tiebreaker? While I'm going to the game because of the closeness of Indy I still think the two division thing is idiotic. One of the best things about college football is tradition and it is rapidly being eroded.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 9:36 p.m.

M-S-Moooooooooooooo has known since Michigan's victory over Nebraska that they would be in the game. Or, on the other hand, maybe they didn't. They are, after all, rather slow on the up-take. Good Night and Good Luck

David Briegel

Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 9:27 p.m.

The BIG 10 was ALWAYS the best thing going. But then the &quot;geniuses&quot; had to make it better. They had to improve it. They had to follow the GREEDY Pied Piper to the promised land. Well, they could have been the Leaders and Best. But then THEY would have had to LEAD. Instead they followed the lemmings! Right off the cliff! They could have have an actual round robin with a real, undisputed Champion. But NO, we have to play two MAC schools and Div 2 and Div 3 schools because a round robin would be too tough. Too tough for the sissies!! Can you imagine how marketable a genuine BIG 10 Champion would have been? And now they can't sell the tickets to their big dance. KARMA?


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 9:04 p.m.

Funniest article I've read in a long time. The Spartan fans can't even sell out a championship game? $9 a ticket and a few hours drive on a Saturday, and they can't make it to watch their team potentially win the first ever B1G Championship game? Pathetic.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 4:11 p.m.

I guess Lucas Oil Stadium doesn't have 70,000 seats, someone must have been making that up, too. I wouldn't be surprised if they block out seating near the endzones to fill in the sides of the stadium to make it look like a full house. Looks like there are $9.00 tickets still not selling on Stubhub. lol. Maybe those are fake tickets?


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 3:33 p.m.

I'm pretty sure that after the school allotments were given there were not 39,000 tickets left. Think sales before the teams were set, corp. sponsors, etc. If you remember the B1G didn't announce the re-release of tickets until (I'm not positive about this) earlier this week. But hey I would just blame the school that sold their allotment of tickets. That seems logical and intelligent. A jump to conclusions mat!!!


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 12:07 p.m.

70,000 seats at Lucas Oil with 31,000 combined school allotment tickets means there are approximately 39,000 seats open to the public. Are you telling me there are only 15,450 spartan fans? Why aren't your fans buying these 39,000? Do the tickets open to the public not sell at Spartan games, or maybe your fanbase can't figure out how to but these tickets? This whole buying tickets on the internet thing is pretty tricky!


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 11:17 p.m.

Michigan State quickly sold its allotment of 15,450 tickets for the game, but Wisconsin hadn't sold its allotment as of Tuesday. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Its a great idea, A jump to conclusions mat


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 11:14 p.m.

You realize MSU sold their allotment of tickets and Wisconsin didn't? Another uninformed comment


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 9:51 p.m.

I might watch five minutes, just to see all the seat-fillers pretending to care about this game, lol!

David Briegel

Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 9:29 p.m.

I'm not certain I want to give up a Sat night to watch the rematch! I hope the scalpers can't give their tickets away!


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 8:37 p.m.

This championship game, though necessary due to the convoluted way the scheduling works, is a bad bad bad idea. A complete money grab even among money grabs, and the fact that 2 teams that have already played during the regular season have to &quot;re-play&quot; is a real shame. MSU won head-to-head and has the best record in the B10. They deserve to go to the Rose Bowl. And believe me, nothing makes me more sad than saying that, but if they lose to Wisconsin, it will be a real shame for those players (but not to Dantonio). I will hate if Ohio and Michigan have to play more than 1 time per year, as The Game sort of says it all for 365 days. Imagine how MSU must feel now.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 2:21 p.m.

I disagree. While game itself clearly is a money grab, the Big Ten has changed, and the Big Ten regular season is now about divisional positioning to see which teams play in the the championship game. You're right, last year, when we had 11 teams, they would have deserved it, but we have a championship game, and you're not exempt from playing in it just because you beat the opposing team during the regular season. The rules weren't changed mid-season, they knew what they were on Day One. Let the Spartans beat'em again and earn their trip to Pasadena, let's not pity party'em.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 3:04 a.m.

@RWBill, Then I suppose Nebraska and Notre Dame can feel angry that MSU goes to the Rose Bowlk over them, since they both beat MSU. If MSU loses and has three losses (two of them to teams UM beat) why shouldn't UM go to a BCS game over MSU. That just makes sense. I guess you think Iowa State should get mad if Oklahoma State goes to a BCS. The problem with the theory that MSU has the best record is the fact that they did not play the same schedule. MSU missed Penn State, while Wisconsin missed UM. I have always said I wish the Big Ten would go to a round robin system. Everybody plays everybody once. Best record wins conference. Ties would go head to head, and I am sure they can come up with a formula for multiple teams tying like they have now. Until then, I think a championship game is the only way to go. Rematches happen all the time in championship games. LSU could be forced to beat Alabama again. It happens in college basketball regularly. It happens in the Super Bowl. It even happens in baseball now with inter-league play.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 9:01 p.m.

And further imagine how they will feel if Wisconsin wins, they have 3 losses, lose out on the Rose Bowl AND watch Michigan go to a BCS while they go to the Outback. I don't like a lot of what the B1G has done, for one calling itself the B1G. The other is the stupid, random divisions, which should have been done by straight east-west geography. MSU should be hosting this Championship game, and whoever has the best record in conference each year.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 7:56 p.m.

I wasn't expecting empty seats, but I did think that it was a bad idea to have the Big Ten Championship Game in a non-Big Ten Stadium. The game should be played in one of the team's stadiums. I'd alternate it. Let the Legend's team host on even years, and let the Leader's team host on odd years.

David Briegel

Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 9:31 p.m.

They take everything away from the fans. Are YOU going to Dallas?


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 7:34 p.m.

I was going to write something about the terrible sentence structure in this story but I don't care enough to do that.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 7:44 p.m.

Good. Since you left out a comma in your statement, your comments would lack credibility anyway.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 7:21 p.m.

As a spartan, the articles from this site make me laugh. They are clearly written just to try and bring down MSU because UM is overshadowed now. 5 years ago MSU fans used to put out the same type of jealous garbage but the tables have cleary turned.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 3:29 p.m.

and U of M has won one since the 40's you have no point. Even if wisconsin beats MSU they will be 1-1. I would say the teams in the B1G that are irrelevant Saturday are those not playing in the championship game


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 8:06 a.m.

Yes Deb, They've won 6, in the 50's and early 60's. But they won't win any more. They are irrelevant ... you'll see Saturday night when the W crushes them.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 9:01 p.m.

MSU already won a few national championships. . .


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 8:32 p.m.

The truth of the matter is this ... MSU is irrelevant, and has concocted for itself a false sense of bravado that will really hurt, when your losing streak begins to THE preferred school in the state of Michigan. Think about this Travis, MSU will never win a national championship ... how does that feel? That is all .. this is Michigan, son.

4 Years and Counting

Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 7:07 p.m.

Not sure why this is relevant in Ann Arbor... last time I checked Michigan wasn't in the Big Ten Championship game. Go State!


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 7:34 p.m.

Dwayne has the best avatar ever. :)


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 7:25 p.m.

Simple ... in case you didn't know, Michigan IS the Big Ten, OSU IS the Big Ten, Wisconsin IS the Big Ten ... Sparty ... is an afterthought ...


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 7:21 p.m.

hey 'four years and counting' here's another for you. by my count east lansing hasn't sent a team to the rose bowl since 1988----- that will be TWENTY FOUR years before the new year rolls around. that is quite a streak----and i'll bet it reaches 25 before it ends.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 7:19 p.m.

Because some State fans do read this website. Probably checking the &quot;Crime&quot; page to see if their latest caper made it to the internet yet.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 7:19 p.m.

The spectre of Michigan football hovers over all things ... ALL things. :-)

Macabre Sunset

Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 7:06 p.m.

This is the down-side of having a conference championship game in a system as screwed-up as the BCS. There's nothing on the line here, except bragging rights for two specific teams. It's anti-climactic in the big picture.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 5:15 a.m.

Ask LSU how it's working out for them: They have to play on Saturday while Alabama rests up for them. These 'championship' games are about money and little else. The league titles have been decided for decades by the regular season results.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 2:49 a.m.

Actually it is for a place in a BCS bowl game. If you think that does not matter, then the entire season does not matter. Most schools want the opportunity to play in a BCS Bowl game. I know for sure the athletes do. I guess you could say the Big Ten basketball championships dont matter either unless a team that would ot make the tournament anyway is in it.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 6:32 p.m.

This game should be at Soldier Field, played in whatever weather that day has to offer. It is absolutely ridiculous that a Big Ten championship game is played indoors. There isn't even one team in the conference anymore that has an indoor stadium.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 9:47 p.m.

Lucas Oil isn't a true indoor stadium like Ford Field, the Metrodome, the Superdome and others. It has a retractable roof and they often play with it open (Nov. 6 Colts v Falcons, possibly more recently as well). The policy on non NFL games is as follows: &quot;... operation of the roof and window will be solely at the discretion of Lucas Oil Stadium management. Due to the fact that the football field does not have a drainage system, and plumbing and piping are not insulated in Lucas Oil Stadium like many other outdoor stadiums, the roof should be closed during any inclement weather. If the outdoor temperature is below 42 degrees Fahrenheit, the roof will be closed.&quot; (<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> The forecast for Indianapolis on Saturday calls for temperatures between 42 and 47. As long as there is no precipitation in the area there is a very real chance this will be played outside. Has it been reported elsewhere that the roof will be closed regardless?


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 8:54 p.m.

@ DonAZ, you have lived in Arizona to long, and I agree to disagree.Plus, you can't get a sunburn indoors. You should have been at the Nebraska game, now that was a great day for a football game. The cold from the concrete in the stadium was trying to become a parasite deep inside my maize and blue bleeding heart. I feel sorry for all those people sitting up in those suites since they are disconnected from the game by DTE's commodity. If the team is getting rained on, the fans should be getting rained on.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 7:30 p.m.

Agreed. Indoor football is lame. Enduring the weather conditions is part of what makes real, Big Ten football the great spectator sport that it is. I think it is a shame that the Big Ten championship game is played indoors. I'd consider going to one, even if Michigan wasn't in it, if it were outdoors. But definitely not indoors.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 7:18 p.m.

Disagree -- I think it's a good way to prepare for the bowl games, which most likely will be played in clear weather.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 6:25 p.m.

Maybe next year's game will be scarlet-and-gray / maize-and-blue.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 10:12 p.m.

If so, it'll be interesting to see how fans react to the title game matchup. Will playing two straight weeks really be that exciting? Or might it dilute the regular season game, especially if both teams have already clinched the title game spot? I'm a Wisconsin fan but have always considered Michigan-Ohio State to be sacred. That the game might in some ways now be less meaningful is unfortunate. College football is altering the traditions that make it so great for a few more dollars.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 8:50 p.m.

Now THAT is the way to make an entrance, OSU. And obtw no probs selling tix in that scenario.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 7:26 p.m.

I would LOVE that. Two weeks of awesome college football in a row.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 6:24 p.m.

Oh, for the years gone by... Back during &quot;The War of the Roses&quot; Woody and Bo annual held B1G championships games and the nobody worried about filling the stadium. The only issue was trying to get tickets. So much for &quot;progress.&quot;


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 6:17 p.m.

this would not be an issue if Michigan was in the game. again sparty, you just don't measure up. 75% of the fans attending this game will be Wisconsin fans. hilarious ....


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 12:42 a.m.

Michigan State sold out their tickets. Wisconsin fans are the ones that didn't step up and buy their share. And yet, 18 people thought your comment was good.... despite its complete factual inaccuracies... wow!


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 9:28 p.m.

Too bad the wolverines record didn't measure up at the end of the season.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 7:03 p.m.

It is a quick jaunt down 69 from EL, can't see why they wouldn't fill the place up. Plus Marion county is not a dry county.

Rabid Wolverine

Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 6:23 p.m.

According to separate news articles, it is Wiscy not MSU that failed to sell their allotment of tickets.

Steve Pierce

Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 6:03 p.m.

Yes but ICC LOS is the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> ICC appears to be the facility company that is making sure the seats are full. Can't fault that if they want it to look good on TV. Seems like smart business marketing. Cheers! - Steve

Kyle Meinke

Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 12:07 a.m.

Steve, thanks for the tip. I talked a rep from the ICC-LOS, and he vehemently denied they were involved in the &quot;seat-filler&quot; thing. Said he works closely with all the groups that have organized the title game, and that none of them are using -- or have used, in his 6 years there -- &quot;seat-fillers.&quot; I updated my story to reflect his thoughts. Thanks again, Steve, for adding to the story. Cheers!

David Briegel

Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 9:37 p.m.

Or whichever team beats the most Div 2 and Div 3 teams that year!


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 9:06 p.m.

Don- the team with the best conference, not overall, record. Tiebreaker is head to head, then overall record if no head to head. Still tied? The division that did not host it the previous year. OR, just alternate it between divisions year to year. Any of those is better than a non league facility contaminated by civic politics. There's enou of that in bowl games.

Jake C

Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 7:23 p.m.

@DonAZ: How about the team that has the best regular-season record? Or whichever division has the best overall record? It's not rocket science.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 7:16 p.m.

@semperveritas -- but what would have been the selection criteria for who got to host it?


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 7:13 p.m.

'papering' the crowd is a well established practice. however, had the delany bigten decided to play the game in the home stadium of either of the participants it would have guaranteed a full house------hence an embarrassing ad for seat fillers or $9 seats would have been avoided. and this story IS embarrassing.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 6:54 p.m.

you bring up a good point. Plus, even with what the Big Ten office is saying, that doesn't change the fact that you can go on and buy a ticket for $6 right now.