We're not just doin' it for money...we're doin' it for a shitload of money! Rivals looks at season ticket prices for all 120 FBS schools and highlights some of the absurd numbers involved:
Fans in the Great Lakes area love college football. They love it so much, in fact, they're willing to pay top dollar to see their teams play.
A Rivals.com survey of season-ticket prices at each of the 120 FBS programs shows that four teams in that area -- Ohio State, Notre Dame, Wisconsin and Michigan -- charge the most for season tickets. With required donations or seat licenses, the most inexpensive season ticket at those schools costs more than $900.
Big-time college football, apparently a recession-proof enterprise, remains a textbook example of supply and demand. For some programs, the demand for season tickets is so great and the supply so limited (even in 100,000-plus stadiums) that successful programs can require thousands of dollars in donations just for the chance to purchase season tickets.
The most expensive ticket is at Ohio State, which costs $2,107, including a donation for the right to buy season tickets.
What's important to remember is that tickets for some programs require more luck than money.
For example, an Alabama season ticket conceivably could be purchased for $455, which would include a minimum $80 contribution to the Tide Pride donor program. The key word is "conceivably."
The opportunity to purchase tickets at that price primarily is limited to those who already have season tickets in the end zones and are content to renew them with the same seat location. A spokesman from Alabama's Developmental Office estimated a new customer may have to donate at least $5,000 to purchase season tickets this year; he also estimated the school's season-ticket waiting list at about 17,000.
You weren't going to use that arm anyway. Here's a list of the cheapest season ticket plans made available by ACC schools, from most expensive to least expensive:
1.) Virginia Tech -- $436
2.) Clemson -- $309
3.) NCSU -- $305
4.) UNC -- $270
5.) Ga Tech -- $260
6.) FSU -- $231
7.) Duke -- $200
8.) BC -- $175
9.) Maryland -- $135
10.) Virginia -- $120 (grass hill)
11.) Miami -- $119
12.) Wake -- $99
(Note: as far as I can tell, these numbers don't account for differences in the number of home games, so the schools may stack up differently on a per game basis.)
As Rivals points out, the floor is much higher at a lot of places if you want to guarantee yourself seats; that's true at NC State (anyone know what the minimum LTR donation required to guarantee seats?), which doesn't offer many options (if any at all) besides the temporary bleachers for a flat $305, and I'm guessing that's true most everywhere for fans that not only want to guarantee seats, but guarantee decent ones.
(Aside: I started buying tickets through my dad, who has LTRs, last season. We went to the WPC office to pick them out, and in one of their offices they have huge seating chart tacked to a wall with pushpins marking seats that have been reserved. I was impressed by how few options there were despite our, uh...lack of the winning. It wasn't surprising since LTRs work so brilliantly to the school's advantage, but still. We haven't priced fans out to quite the extent that the big time programs have, but we've come pretty close. The best I could do was about ten rows up in section 30.)
It's not all crazy, though. For example, if you happen to be a Kent State fan, you can at least console yourself with the fact that you can catch all of the team's home games for thirty bucks. (The high five from the athletics director is free!)