Soft ticket market likely affecting Tech’s slow sales

Georgia Tech has sold about 5,000 tickets out of its allotment of 15,000, but athletic director Mike Bobinski said "that isn't the focal point of our experience here." (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Orange Bowl tickets as low as $3.50 on secondary re-sale sites have likely had an effect on Georgia Tech’s ticket sales. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

A soft secondary market has likely slowed Georgia Tech’s ticket sales for the Orange Bowl.

The school has sold about 5,000 tickets out of its allotment of 15,000 and will be required to absorb the cost of the remaining tickets. Almost certainly, ticket prices available on ticket re-sale websites are slowing sales for the ticket office.

Tech’s price range is $99 for a ticket in the upper corners of Sun Life Stadium to $235 for lower sideline seats. On Stubhub, tickets were available Tuesday afternoon for as low as $3.50. Lower sideline seats on the Tech side of the field were available for $63.75.

“The reality is that there was a pretty active secondary market that emerged about the same time that we went out with full-priced tickets,” athletic director Mike Bobinski said. “That’s a difficult thing to compete against yourselves, in some ways.”

Bobinski also noted that some fans may have chosen to stay home after having made the trip to Charlotte, N.C., for the ACC championship game. Tech sold out its allotment of 5,500 tickets for that game and actually sold extra tickets in adjacent sections. Flights to south Florida and hotel costs in the area are prohibitive.

The depressed market indicates that interest overall may not be as strong. According to data from Tiqiq, a ticket re-sale aggregation site, the average ticket price dropped 61 percent from the time the matchup was announced. The $95.44 average on Tiqiq is the lowest of any Orange Bowl on record, starting with the 2010 game. In 2010, when Tech played Iowa, the average was $241.64, the highest of any of the past five Orange Bowls.

Another factor is that local fans may have purchased tickets mostly for the right to get into the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Orange Bowl next year and are trying to unload tickets to this year’s game. Probably not insignificantly, this is just the second Orange Bowl to be played prior to New Year ’s Day, a change instituted by the CFP. The first occasion, in 1996, produced by far the lowest attendance since 1987 (57,324).

“I’m thankful for the people that are here and know they’ll do a great job representing us,” Bobinski said.

Mississippi State, playing in its first major bowl since 1999 and its first Orange Bowl since 1941, has sold 11,000 tickets out of its allotment. The purchases for both schools represent just under a quarter of their season ticket bases. Of fans purchasing on Stubhub, 21 percent are from Mississippi, 20 percent from Florida and 19 percent from Georgia.

Bobinski said that “I don’t believe we’ll take a big hit” with the unsold tickets and downplayed the loss. Tech has received a $2 million payment from the ACC to cover bowl expenses, some of which could be used to offset the ticket sale shortage.

“Clearly, the economics are important, but there’s also sort of the ancillary benefits of being at this level, on this platform,” he said, particularly a sizeable television audience. “There’s some other benefits of being here that don’t show up on the financial statement, but I think they’re real and they really matter.”

Unsold tickets will be distributed by the Orange Bowl to first responders and youth organizations in the area.


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