BCS National Championship Tickets: Three Years in Review

Important: Post revised 1/4/13 with updated pricing information.

When time ran out on Georgia’s comeback bid on Saturday, the Alabama Crimson Tide had captured their second conference title under Nick Saban and have officially set their sights on repeating as BCS National Champions on January 7th when they take on Notre Dame in Miami. In what promises to be one of the more entertaining title games in recent years, Alabama vs. Notre Dame is a classic match-up of two of college football’s preeminent programs.

In contrast to the recent success enjoyed by Alabama, Notre Dame hasn’t been in the national title conversation since they won in 1988.  This year, however, third-year head coach Brian Kelly and Heisman hopeful LB Manti Te’o have led the Irish to an undefeated regular season schedule.  As a result, tickets to the title game are in high demand and perhaps the best way to chart that demand is by following the trend in ticket prices on the secondary market.

This year the average price for BCS Championship tickets is $1,791 a piece. In fact, it will cost you at least $817/ticket* just to get in the door at SunLife Stadium. With Alabama fans pinning their hopes on a championship repeat and Notre Dame fans ecstatic to be back at the top of the college football world, it really should come as no surprise that BCS Championship Game Tickets aren’t cheap, after all they never are. However, to understand the value and demand for these tickets, it is necessary to look at the trend in tickets in the context of the previous two years’ BCS Championship games.

Last year’s average secondary market ticket price was $1,918 a piece, 7% higher than this year’s contest. While the Alabama and LSU match up in New Orleans did generate a lot of hype in the region, with New Orleans so closely situated to both Baton Rouge and Tuscaloosa, most fans almost assuredly waited until the last minute to acquire their tickets. Without the same national interest, the average price stayed relatively low despite this unique regional championship contest.

Looking back just one year further to 2010′s Auburn vs Oregon match-up the prices are decidedly different. Having not claimed a title since 1957, and being on the outside looking as a result of a ban contemporaneous with an undefeated 1993 season, tickets would have been in high-demand regardless. Combine the historical context with the year-long media swarm surrounding their dynamic Heisman-winning QB Cam Newton and 2010 was a once-in-a-lifetime season for Auburn. In fact, War Eagle fans were willing to pay an average of $3,227 a pop on the secondary market.

While this season’s match-up is historic in its own right, the average price can’t compete with Auburn/Oregon, and with prices falling 39% from when prices peaked at $2,976 on 12/2 it’s struggling to keep pace with last year’s game either. However, as supply begins to dwindle and demand increases as we near January 7th, Alabama vs Notre Dame could begin to trend back upwards.

*Ticket price as of 1/4/13 and subject to change.

2010 Sun Bowl Seating Chart

Here’s the map for 2011 Sun Bowl, updated to show which side Miami and Notre Dame sidelines are on. The game will be played on Friday December 31, 2010 at 12:00PM.

Sun Bowl Seating Chart