What do you bring to a football stadium to go watch a game?
If you’re talking about the Sept. 12 matchup between USC and Ohio State, you’ll need seat cushions, drinks and a grill for tailgating — and a whole lot of cash. Tickets for the game will cost at least four times the average face value of $63 — and those prices are strictly for the nosebleed seats.
With a capacity of 102,000 in Ohio Stadium, you might think that finding reasonably priced tickets for the game would be a none-too-strenuous feat. Not so, it turns out. Field-level seating, available only in the long-sold out contest, starts at $1,000. Seats on the 50-yard line — only two are advertised for purchase — are being offered on resale site StubHub.com for no less than $5,000 apiece.
“Unfortunately, that’s the way of the world,” said Bill Jones, assistant athletic director for ticketing at Ohio State, in an interview with the Columbus Dispatch. “We don’t have a whole lot of control over it.”
It makes sense that the game would draw a crowd. OSU and USC boast two of the most storied legacies in all of college sports, and the pair’s on-field rivalry is legendary. Having played 22 times in the last 70-odd years, the matchup is a close one, with USC just barely holding the edge, 12-10.
Of course, fans will recall that last year’s game was a blowout, with USC dominating an overmatched Buckeye team 35-3 at the Coliseum. The losing team in this year’s match is likely out of the national championship picture, so it’s understandable that the Buckeye faithful would demand a premium price for parting with their tickets to next Saturday’s game.
Still, those familiar with ticket resale admit that the prices being charged for seats are becoming excessive.
“Ohio State fans [just] don’t often part with their tickets,” said StubHub spokesman Sean Pate. “You’re seeing some serious advantage for the seller.”
Southwest Airlines, anticipating a crush of USC fans to attend regardless of cost, has added a flight to its regularly scheduled service, going so far as to offer a nonstop weekender that runs directly between LAX and Columbus.
With game ticket prices that almost demand a second student loan, it seems likely that much of the Trojan faithful will spend this game rooting from the cheapest seats they can get: the ones in their living rooms.