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Posted on Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 8:46 a.m.

Virginia Tech struggles to sell its share of Sugar Bowl tickets

By Staff


Virginia Tech football coach to Hokie fans: "We need your help."

Associated Press

Hokie Nation isn't that fired up about the Sugar Bowl or New Orleans.

The Virginia Tech athletics department has sold 9,337 of its 17,500 ticket allotment to the Jan. 3 Sugar Bowl (8:30 p.m., ESPN) against the Michigan football team.

So now Virginia Tech is asking fans to purchase "proxy tickets." The proxy tickets will be distributed to military and charitable organizations. The homepage of Virginia Tech athletics includes a video plea from Hokies football coach Frank Beamer telling fans, "We need your help."

"Over the years, Virginia Tech has earned the reputation of being a football program that enjoys a strong following to bowl games," the school said on its website. "In order to maintain that recognition, the Athletics Department is asking Hokie fans that cannot make this year’s Allstate Sugar Bowl to consider purchasing proxy tickets.

If Virginia Tech doesn't sell the remaining 8,163 tickets, which cost $120 or $140 each, it has to pay for them.

Michigan sold more than 14,000 of its 17,500 tickets in two days.

The Sugar Bowl's selection of No. 11 Virginia Tech (11-2) — and to an extent, Michigan (10-2) — has drawn fire because it passed over more deserving teams, including Boise State (11-1), which will play in the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl despite being ranked No. 7 in the BCS.

“We had to put together what we think makes the most sense for our bowl,” Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan said after the selections were announced. “There are reasons we do things that are way beyond the obvious.

“You can’t please everyone. We feel like we’ve got a heck of a nice matchup.”

The Hokies were blown out 38-10 by Clemson in the ACC championship game and didn't beat a ranked team this year. But, they've also traveled well to New Orleans in the past, including three times in the BCS era.

“You look at Michigan and Virginia Tech both bringing a lot of fans,” ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit said after the bids were announced. “But is that what it’s come down to?

“Kellen Moore and Boise State, Baylor and Robert Griffin, Kansas State and Bill Snyder is the coach of the year. But the BCS at-large selection is all about how teams come into cities and fill up hotel rooms.”



Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 11:11 p.m.

I respect Virginia Tech and believe they have a good team and a very good football program,. However, the Sugar Bowl would've been better served from the attendance standpoint to have selected Oklahoma or Arkansas as U-M's opponent. I'm not sure what the outcome would be against those teams because they both have good offenses with exceptional passing games, but it would've been a full house because both teams travel well and are within a reasonable driving distance of New orleans.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 6:57 p.m.

Gee, Michigan didn't sell their allotment either. Remember the big to do about the B1G not selling out? maybe people would rather stay home and watch the games on there 70" plasma with every amenity available then pay a ton of money for a ticket, and get gouged on concessions. Make no mistake, the rise in production value of live sports on TV, coupled with the rise in ticket prices and other collateral costs, make staying at home a much easier decision.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 6:15 p.m.

The BCS committee needs to divest some of the payout to the bowl participating teams towards lower ticket prices. BCS = utterly stupid and greedy to boot! We encourage the fans not to order any ticket unless the prices come way way down. Michigan fans are more well off than others but still the BCS needs to drastically change in the financial area.


Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 3:20 a.m.

Michigan fans are more well off than others but still the BCS needs to drastically change in the financial area. Last I checked Michigan had the highest uneploment rate in the count.try. Michigan is the welfare state. Some of those people are fans.

Matt Irelan

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 6:10 p.m.

The game on a Tuesday night, two days after the Holiday, can be hard to travel to. I think this would be easier on the fans if it was on January 2nd.

Yeah buddy

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 3:58 p.m.

You know who wouldn't have a hard time selling tickets? Kansas St.

Macabre Sunset

Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 8:34 a.m.

No team has been passed over more times by the BCS than Kansas State. They made a rule, often called the Kansas State rule, requiring that the number 3 or 4 team earns an automatic bid, specifically because Kansas State travels so poorly.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 4:13 p.m.

Maybe. And perhaps the Sugar Bowl committee has learned its lesson. But until next year, the matchup of Michigan vs. Virginia Tech is what it is.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 3:51 p.m.

Why would a Virginia Tech fan pay money to see his team get hammered by the mighty Michigan Wolverines? :-) Going to a bowl game is a pricey endeavor. The Fiesta Bowl is just up the street from me (100 miles up I-10, Tucson to Glendale) and I was pondering going. But ticket prices are a couple hundred dollars. More importantly, my HDTV makes watching TV at home very, very appealing.

5c0++ H4d13y

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 5:40 p.m.

Rather I think the VT fans are expecting another boring blowout e.g. UVa.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 3:25 p.m.

The Hokies allotted tickets are for sale on their website <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>. Looks like they have some good seats available. If you go to the superdome's website, they have an interactive seating chart that shows the view from a given seat. Google &quot;mercedes benz superdome seating&quot;.


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 3:22 p.m.

no bowl destination is cheap (especially bcs venues) ticket prices / traveling expenses / hotel rooms-------and new orleans is no exception. i'll be surprised if the sugar bowl sells out. if the sugar bowl committee wishes to do the patriotic thing, it could eat those unsold tickets and provide them to members of the military. that's my vote.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 3:04 p.m.

Va Tech screwed up. When it opened ticket sales it first permitted only alumni and season tkt holders to purchase. Then it opened it up to students and staff. Not certain whether or not it is yet open to the General Public. Good Night and Good Luck


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 3:02 p.m.

Hokie Nation should put them on sale in AnnArbor... They may sell....


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 6:52 p.m.

Michigan hasn't sold their allotment either


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 2:45 p.m.

Nothing new here. I spent the summer watching motorsports events with half-empty seating sections, including the Brickyard down at Indy (maybe half full, if that). I see empty seats in the Red Wings games too. MIS just downsized the number of seats it has, back to a level last seen about 15 years ago. Bottom line is that people aren't spending big money to go to big sporting events like they did a few years ago. Probably that issue has been discussed in the newsroom? Although I do hope that if the bowl-hosting entities start losing money, we'll finally see a real playoff system in Div I football....


Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 10:04 p.m.

I routinely noticed open seats during the playoffs last year, too. It killed me, because I'd LOVE to go to a Wings game, especially during the playoffs. I couldn't believe it.

David Vande Bunte

Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 4:05 p.m.

To be fair to the Red Wings, they play 41 home games, not including the playoffs, amd we are only what, 1/3 done with the season? You never see Comerica Park filled at this point in the season either...even when the economy is good. Less people care about early season matchups, and that is true in every sport outside of Football.