There, very understandably, is much weeping an knashing of teeth over the present BCS National Championship Game. The seventeen year drought for a championship has the entire Alabama fan base giddy with anticipation and I can’t imagine that the desire to go to the game has ever been higher.

The tickets that went on sale to the public this past week has gotten everyone more upset than they already were, because most people thought they had a chance to purchase tickets only to find out that was about as likely as getting a cheap plane ticket anywhere near Los Angeles either side of January 7th.

I believe that glimmer of hope may be the biggest part of the problem. The LSU game and the SEC Championship games also had high demand but nowhere near the hand wringing. Had there been no public sale for this game, I don’t think people would be nearly as upset as they appear to be. One of the other factors at play here is the complicated logistics involved; this game is around 2,000 miles away. The vast majority of folks want to know they have a ticket before they make such tricky travel arrangements and fork out deposits.

We all love the Crimson Tide and a lot of us want to be there.  Even if there were half of the 91,000 seats available to Alabama fans, the demand would be far greater than the supply. There aren’t near that many seats. Similar to the SEC Championship Game, somewhere between half to two-thirds of the tickets are provided to the representive schools. We sell out 82,000 seats minimum in Bryant-Denny for big games. There aren’t near that available to begin with and the demand is far, far greater. There is no way that everyone wanting a ticket is getting one. That’s a fact.

Now the passionate fans, hungry to watch the game live and be part of the experience are crying foul. Mostly in the form throwing around the term greedy. There is no question that there are people out there that are using this as an oppurtunity to make money. Why wouldn’t they? If you told me that I could get three to ten times my investment of $200 and do virtualy nothing other than place an add online (and not do anything illegal in the process), I’d jump all over it. So would you.

Put yourself in this hypothetical: You have one or two tickets to the game. There is no way you can go. You have at least six friends clammoring for tickets, so there is no way you could make all of them happy, in fact you’d probably make four mad by making two happy. It’s Christmas time and expenses are mounting. You’ve got $400 invested but you could clear at least $800 by selling them on the open market. Are you greedy for doing that? Generally, only if you’re one of the prospective buyers. What if the University or the government mandated that you had to sell those tickets at face value or even at a set profit margin. Would that be right either?

Anytime a discussion of ticket demand comes up, someone always throws out the “big money boosters are bad” arguement or, “it’s the everyday working fans that make this program what it is”. If you’ve ever maid either one of these statements or any derivative of them, you’re quite simply wrong.

Big money boosters do make the program go. Big money boosters pay coaches huge salaries, build extravagant facilities and stadiums. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. Public money does not make any significant impact on our athletic department. Boosters are essential to a big time program. It’s just that simple. No boosters equals a non-competitive atlethic program.

What do those boosters get in return? Amonst other things, tickets. They keep the program going and competitive. Do you have more of a right to a ticket than they do?

It’s not just big money guys either. It’s the middle class families that donate anywhere from $75 to $2000 per seat per season to watch their favorite team play football. Do you, who’ve never done anything but bought a t-shirt at Walmart and sclaped a ticket outside the stadium have more of a right to a ticket than anyone of them. The worst part of the donation is that on the lower end of the spectrum you haven’t got a prayer of an away game or post-season tickets.

It doesn’t even go ticket for ticket with considerable donations. I’m part of a group of three married men, whom all have children that want to go to games. We each pay $350 per seat just for the right for tickets. I spend at least $1,500 each year for game tickets and have for years. Out of those eight seats, and a considerable donantion from one of the guys (we’re talking close to what a teacher makes in a year in this state) we get four post season and away game tickets. That means that four of those guy’s spouses, children, or even the guys themselves are out in the cold, when the National Championship game kicks off in twenty days.

I understand the frustration but let’s look at the facts:

  • There is more demand than supply. Not everybody that wants to go to the game is going to go, even with all things being equal.
  • People that donate large sums of money make the program go and therfore deserve the right to attend the game before others. Everyone has the right to donate. Not the means but the right.
  • Many that donate smaller amounts of money aren’t going becasue they don’t have tickets.
  • Free market economy has it faults but it isn’t greedy to make money if you have the oppurtunity to (as long as you aren’t breaking the law). The down side of that is that they stand to lose money if the demand were not there (which we have decided it is) and that some will go without becasue they can’t afford it. This isn’t milk, bread, or even gas. There is no such thing as gouging in this situation becasue you don’t have to have football tickets to live.

Good luck on getting a ticket. I do hope you get to go to the game if you want, but keep the bitching to a minimum if it doesn’t work out in your favor.