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Posted on Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 8:24 a.m.

Sugar Bowl-bound Virginia Tech not alone in struggle to sell bowl tickets

By Staff

Thumbnail image for FrankBeamer_APFile.jpg

Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer is encouraging Hokies fans to buy tickets to the Sugar Bowl.

That's Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer on the school's athletic website, pitching Sugar Bowl tickets in a short video. He's also taken the court at a basketball game to encourage fans to make the trip for the Jan. 3 game against Michigan in New Orleans.

The Hokies aren't the only major football program struggling to sell tickets for a marquee game, The New York Times reports.

The Hokies will sell about 57 percent of their 17,500 ticket allotment, Virginia Tech athletic director Jim Weaver said earlier this week.

Penn State, Clemson and West Virginia aren't having much luck, either. Here's how it breaks down:

Penn State: The Nittany Lions will face Houston in the TicketCity Bowl on Jan. 2. says that as of Wednesday, Penn State "had sold less than half the 6,500 tickets it was allotted.

West Virginia: The university has sold 6,100 of its 17,500 tickets for the Jan. 4 Orange Bowl game against Clemson, according to the Associated Press.

Clemson: The other half of the Orange Bowl pairing is struggling, too, the New York Times reports, having sold 5,600 of its 17,500 tickets.



Sat, Dec 17, 2011 : 4:57 p.m.

The bowl situation is becoming super-saturated and people just aren't that interested. Teams with barely a .500 rating going to bowl games is absurd. All this is because of greedy people wanting to make more money. I liked college football better in the days of the major bowl games, not the Idaho Spud Bowl, etc. What is the thrill if your team has a 6-6 record and wins? This only proves that the team you beat is worse than you. Duh.


Sat, Dec 17, 2011 : 1:18 p.m.

Maybe it's time for college football to stick up for themselves and quit getting taken advantage of by a bunch of really rich white people in charge of the bowl games and tv scheduling....


Sat, Dec 17, 2011 : 5:21 a.m.

Who would want to watch Penn State play in a bowl game? Makes me nauseous whenever I think what went on their to "protect" the program. You couldn't pay me to go.


Sat, Dec 17, 2011 : 1:18 p.m.

are we the same person?

Mr. X

Sat, Dec 17, 2011 : 12:16 a.m.

I am a Michigan fan living in Clemson territory. I have a very good friend who attends all Clemson home games and most of their bowl games. I have inferred from my friend's comments that IPTAY (Clemson booster club) has made many fans angry because of the way they try to control who gets tickets. He didn't have enough points to qualify for bowl tickets so he bought his from another source and now they are left holding tickets that could have been sold. The booster clubs seem to be working their business with the same mentality as the large banks and they are losing customers. The lack of ticket sales is not necessarily a reflection of fan interest but may be poor business practices by those Universities that have tickets remaining. It will be interesting to see if they change their practices because of this situation.

Lorain Steelmen

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 7:49 p.m.

DonAZ. Appreciate you comments/reply to MRunner. I tend to agree. Heres' another interesting situation. Martin recently expanded the Big House to 109,901. I've been in alumni meetings and now heard Brandon say, he has reviewed plans to expend the south end, by another 5,500 to 6,000 bench seats. ie) approaching 116,000....AND, he has seen plans, to expand the north end, with more LuxBoxes, by another 7,500. ie) approaching 123,500. Where does the demand begin to falloff? Certainly, SE Michigan is in a severe economic downturn, yet DB thinks he can sell another 13,500 seats, as bench/lux box? Wow... (Team #132, is my personal 47th team. I was here in the late 60's. Specifically, in 1968, we students walked into a our seat locations, then moved over to the 50 yard line. Average crowds in the pre-Bo era, ran 60,000. (except for the msu - um game, every other year.) Take Penn State as another example. We are hearing now, that their administration wants to de-emphasize football. Nittany Stadium is close to the BigHouse, say 108,000. That will surely drop off, going forward. The college football world may be peaking soon. And finally, what happens if Urban Meyer lays an egg with his new spread in Columbus? We saw ohio crowds leaving games early this year, as Fickel's offense struggled. Is it possible that these ohio fans, who are notorious front-runners, would desert in droves? Whats' your take?

Lorain Steelmen

Sat, Dec 17, 2011 : 8:22 p.m.

DonAZ, Your comments about second tier big ten schools is intersting. Lets' say that Wisconsin is a 'first tier' program. Having been there for a coupe of UM gaees, the atmopshere at Camp Randall IS a classic. I've not been to Nebrasks yet , but look forward to it. Lets' say they are 'first tier', that gives us UM/ohio/PennSt/Wisc/Nebraska. So, the second tier would be Iowa/msu....with a capacity of around 75,000. Iowa would normally sellout, but I'm not sure the Spartans are there yet, as they still operate in UM's shadow. But I'd say those two may keep pace. Dantonio has some serious issues there, and his approach to the game, is not good. Thuggary will work, only so long. After that, the rest of the league is hit or miss, Illinois, Purdue, NWestern, Minn, Ind., in that order. Now that Hoke has UM back on track, I look for the big 5, plus 2 to dominate the league. I don't see Beckman doing much at Illinois, although I AM a fan of Fitzgerald at NWestern. I 'd like to see them do well. Danny Hope at Purdue at Purdue may eventually be a winner, but so far I am NOT impressed. That leaves us with msu, and Iowa.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 11:27 p.m.

@LS -- there's a really interesting dynamic that takes place when a stadium is full, regardless of the size of it. By that I mean 50,000 in a 50,000 seat stadium is rocking, 50,000 in Michigan Stadium feels like a ghost town. I'm sure Brandon wants to make sure he "tickles the boundary" of seating ... large enough to capture the marginal dollar, not so large as to create pockets of empty seats. There's also the issue of maintaining the impression / perception of scarcity ... human nature what it is, people want more of what they sense is less abundant. A crammed stadium creates a sense of scarcity; empty seats creates impression of surplus and dampens demand. Personally I think Michigan can fill 115,000 to 120,000 seats on a given Saturday provided (a) the weather is halfway decent, (b) the opponent is mildly interesting, and (c) Michigan has a good product on the field. I think much beyond that and there'd be empty seats for some of the games. Time will tell what the Penn State administration means when they say they're "de-emphasizing football." Personally I don't think that means they'll strive for less attendance. They'll work hard to fill the place. As for OSU ... first, I doubt Meyer will lay an egg. Second, I think a generally competitive OSU means they fill that place. The Michigans, OSUs and Penn States aren't the issue ... it's Purdue, Indiana, Minnesota and Northwestern ... and all the other second-tier football schools where there just isn't an established tradition of Saturday-at-the-Game. As the BCS-effect permeates the game, upper-tier football schools will separate further from the middle- and lower-tier. I'm not really sure anything can be done about it. We can't turn back the clock to simpler times.

Lorain Steelmen

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 9:11 p.m.

MRunner. The comments from Brandon came at the Alumni gathering in Toledo, in response to a question I raised, the week before the 2010 osu game. DB was making a swing of clubs, around the buckeye state, ahead of that game. (I've seen similar subject articles on here, over the past year, but none, recently.) I think he'll work the south end next, now that the scoreboards are in. Then, as his 'fan experience projects', build approval, he may lunch the north end expansion. He kidded, the north end, might be left for 'his successor', but my take is, that he is not at all inhibited, and the core problem there is, that the expense would be much higher on north end, than the bench seats on the south end. So he'll need to have a greater degree of confidence, before he launches. But remember, DB was speaking near the end of the Rodriguez program. Now, that he has had a year of the Hoke program, and the results have been 'off the charts,' I'm guessing, that he'll pull those north end plans out, and peruse them a bit more closely...... ( I just hope he stays 'traditional' with the jerseys, home and away. I support sprucing up the 'program', but NOT, in the area of the jerseys/helments. I'm Ok with the numbers on the helmets, but I LOVE the unis, just the way they are. I know, I know, I'm an 'old blue', but they ARE college football, just sayin'.) I like what DB has done to 'mike the M Band', so the south end can hear so much better, and, the piped in music, the pom poms, etc. The ND and ohio game, fan experience this year, was definitely COOL.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 8:40 p.m.

Lorain: the Michigan Stadium expansion plans is very informative, since you heard it first hand. This should make for a great story line in My Take: Michigan football attendance is not drop off during the Rich Rod era. I went to 5 of 7 homes in 2010 and at least 4 in 2009. I follow the local airways and this local dot com platform. I feel that Michigan Stadium can handle 123,000 but not every game. It is possible if Brady Hoke can totally restore a winning football program. The bar would be set high for Hoke and the football program. The demand would fall off if if we play too many MAC teams and it would fall off in any adverse weather. Given the number of premier match ups, such as MSU, OSU, NE, ND and then get an SEC team up here with a home and home series, attendance would top 123,000. I support the idea but ticket prices need to remain at these levels. There is NASCAR effect with venues being too large along with over exposure, but that is a risk worth taking. Great info, thanks for sharing it.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 7:19 p.m.

Sporting News is reporting that players on all bowl-bound teams including Blue, received NCAA-approved gifts valued at up to $550. Ususally, the legal meaning of a gift carries a non-revocable transfer of ownership. My question is this, "Will your players LEGALLY own their Sugar Bowl gifts?" If they're not allowed to sell them, they don't own them!


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 8:48 p.m.

Awe shucks, lest we not forget about the tatoos,cars and golden pants, etc- transgressions at ohio.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 4:27 p.m.

These games are after New year's Day. OK, no NCAA football on a Sunday but this is a double edged sword because it is difficult for fans to travel technically, after the holiday. Interest for Penn State will be at an all time low, understandable. WVa: This is WVa, cannot expect much more. Clemson: small market metro area and fan appeal. Hokies: post holiday time table. Michigan: great to be going; ready, willing and able.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 5:56 p.m.

Larry: You are 100% on the mark. I wish we were in change of making those decisions.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 5:04 p.m.

@Larry -- I agree, but organizers of such things can't get enough of the green stuff. So they push and push thinking the demand in infinite and will soak up all their expansion plans. It isn't and it doesn't. As for the NBA ... I was frankly disappointed they settled. My interest in professional basketball is off the bottom scale. If the league had collapsed in on itself and we faced no more NBA I would have been perfectly okay with it.

Larry Weisenthal

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 4:49 p.m.

College football needs to end on New Years Day. Pro football needs to end in January. College basketball needs to end in March. NBA and NHL need to end in April. World Series needs to end in October.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 3:39 p.m.

Too many bowls: Fans expect them every year now, so it's not a special occasion to go. And yes, +1 on "Houstin". Proof read and spell check, please.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 3:36 p.m.

"The Nittany Lions will face Houstin..."? Where is Houstin? bwah...

Tony Dearing

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 3:42 p.m.

Thanks for pointing that out. It's been fixed.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 2:14 p.m.

1) Houston, not "Houstin" 2) This is a product of a) too many bowl games, and 2) the BCS Championship. Point a) leads to too many mediocre teams making it it to bowl games and the fan base being unwilling to lay down th bucks to see the game when they can very comfortably on TV. Point b) makes all other bowl games, even the "important" ones, meaningless, as the only teams that have a shot at the National Championship are those in the BCS Championship. This was predictable. Good Night and Good Luck


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 5 p.m.

I'm reminded of the fact the NCAA basketball tournament used to play a consolation game between the teams that lost their final-four games. They don't do that anymore. Why? Because nobody cared. We're on the front-end of the death of college football as we remember it.