For those who already have their tickets…they’re numb already, or will turn a deaf ear. But if you’re thinking about seeing the Buckeyes in person this year…start collecting your couch change.
Rummaging through an old sock drawer yesterday I found a ticket stub – an old ticket stub from 1976 – from the Ohio State-Michigan football game that year, played in Ohio Stadium.
I couldn’t believe my eyes.
And no, it wasn’t the ticket. I find old things like that which I’ve kept all the time. Hoarding runs in the family.
But what shocked me was the reality that a ticket for the Michigan game in 1976, for seats in section 12A, ten rows up, cost…(are you ready?)…$8.00. $8.00 dollars! Can I get an “OH” for that?
And I just checked the order form for this year and there is no home Michigan game to compare to; but the Michgan State game, the next-to-last home game of the season will set you back $190 (face value) if you want drink the Kool-Aid. That’s about a 500% increase over 1976, and despite the fact of 41 years…a little shocking.
“Aligning pricing to market is an effective tool in generating ticket sales revenue to support our athletics department, which remains one of only 18 self-supporting athletics programs across the nation,” says Gene Smith, the athletic director at OSU. “This revenue helps sustain scholarships for more than 625 student-athletes, and allows us to continue to support 36 fully funded varsity sports.”
That kind of revenue also forced a lot of elderly Buckeye fans to give up their tickets and football habit when Andy Geiger was AD, and remodeled the Stadium to replace B Deck seats with the Huntington Club luxury boxes.
So, I called a friend in Columbus that’s been to all of the Rose Bowl games since we graduated from OSU together in 1975. I couldn’t wait to share my find with him.
“Hey, I’ve got a Rose Bowl ticket right here in front of me from the ’76 game with UCLA,” he chimed. 40 yard line, row 42…for $12.50. Where has the time, and our money gone?”
Well, I don’t go to Ohio State games anymore. I quit a few years ago when they introduced “dynamic pricing” in 2013. And what that means is they can justify charging you more for games involving better teams. Michigan State will cost you $190 this year; UNLV, or Army, will cost you about $65. The same thing that Gene Smith said, only more clear.
The last game that I actually saw in person did it for me. It was against Youngstown State in Tressel’s next-to-last year, I think; and face value seats that day in A Deck – to see Youngstown State – were $52.00. YSU shared the gate, of course. That’s the only way you could get them to Columbus, and I think the Ohio legislature long ago made it a point that all of the state schools come to Columbus to play OSU as a way of “redistributing the wealth”. Football welfare, if you will.
But everything, you say, costs more these days, and I concur. I even see why. We live in a day of entitlement and subsidy in every walk of life. Why should football be any different? However, you can see Youngstown State in Youngstown for $20. Nothing subsidized about that, so it makes you wonder.
So they tell me it’s the “experience” you pay for if you plank down to see OSU play, even Army – all those people, the color, the pageantry, the band…and $10 beer.
But they also tell me this is a day when hunger and poverty abound – that two out of five American children go to bed hungry at night. Really? I can see why if they went to the Ohio State game earlier in the day.
They tell us that greed will one day be the downfall of civilization, as if we haven’t seen that already. And while Gene Smith can proudly claim that OSU is but one of 18 schools to actually make money on athletics…is that really something to be proud of?
Or, if it’s a matter of supply and demand, how do you justify $190 for a football game that frankly is easier, more comfortable, and better viewing at home on a 65-inch 4K television? I know the supply is there, I guess I struggle now to understood the demand.
By the way, I’m not picking on Ohio State. For the same reasons, I don’t go to Bengals games, Reds games, or Blue Jacket games.
And if you think actual football coaches don’t have a financial conscience, consider the words of the late Randy Walker, when he was the head coach at Northwestern.
During a phone conversation and interview in 2005 for another website, I asked him the question, “Did you think you’d ever see the day that a college football ticket would cost $60?”
He hesitated for a moment before answering. Having grown up in Troy, Ohio, Randy understood value, and conservative value, above all.
“No, I never did,” he said from the other end of the line. “But I’m glad I don’t have to. I just get paid to coach. The money guys decide on how much it’s worth.”
And after pausing for a moment, he added.
“But I know the people I grew up with in Troy would have thought twice about it.”
They probably still do. If you have a conscience you’d have to…even to see the Buckeyes!