The team I'd put money on to be in the BCS National Championship would have to be the Florida State Seminoles, which is why I was somewhat shocked to see the cheapest conference championship game ticket on the secondary ticket market is the ACC. The get-in price currently sits at just $9.50 with more than 3,500 tickets available on StubHub alone.
The surety of producing a national championship contender, however, has never stifled the prices at the SEC Championship Game. TiqIQ says the lowest get-in price the past three years, all of which have produced a national championship contender, was $160 in 2011 when LSU played Georgia.
Despite the fact that the SEC game is unlikely to produce a national title contender this year, it still features the highest get-in price of any of the conference championship games at $200 on StubHub. The ticket reseller says it's the second highest-selling football matchup this season behind September's Alabama-Texas A&M matchup.
The Big Ten Championship Game, which will likely seal a trip to the national championship for Ohio State if the Buckeyes win, isn't commanding the same kind of dough as the SEC game, but its $97 get-in price eclipses the ACC.
Here's a look at how the conference championship games stack up against one another on StubHub as of Wednesday afternoon:
- Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte, NC; capacity: 73,298)
- Lowest-priced ticket: $9.50 (Upper End Zone 529)
- Highest-priced ticket: $999.00 (Lower End Zone 119)
- Tickets available: 3,578
- Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis, IN; capacity: 67,000)
- Lowest-priced ticket: $97.00 (Terrace Sideline 507)
- Highest-priced ticket: $9,999.00 (Club I 141)
- Tickets available: 2,635
- Rice Stadium (Houston, TX; capacity: 70,000)
- Lowest-priced ticket: $55.00 (Lower Sideline 104)
- Highest-priced ticket: $60.00 (Lower Sideline 113)
- Tickets available: 13
- Ford Field (Detroit, MI; capacity: 65,000)
- No tickets available on StubHub
- Bulldog Stadium (Fresno, CA; capacity: 41,031)
- Lowest-priced ticket: $14.99 (End Zone 5)
- Highest-priced ticket: $175.00 (Sideline 12)
- Tickets available: 406
- Sun Devil Stadium (Tempe, AZ; capacity: 71,706)
- Lowest-priced ticket: $53.00 (Upper End Zone 221)
- Highest-priced ticket: $1,000.00 (Lower Sideline 7)
- Tickets available: 3,298
- Georgia Dome (Atlanta, GA; capacity: 71,228)
- Lowest-priced ticket: $200.00 (Upper End Zone 338)
- Highest-priced ticket: $20,000 (B Level Suite 3)
- Tickets available: 1,801
The American Athletic Conference, Big XII, and Sun Belt are not included because they do not host conference championship games.
Obviously, every conference championship game is different, from whether the game is played at a neutral site to its history as a game and, of course, the matchup.
The SEC Championship Game benefits from having been the first conference championship game and a game whose winner has gone on to win the national championship the past seven years. The waiting list for season tickets has been capped at 20,000 for years, and season ticket holders renew at a rate of 99%. Even with only the outside chance that this year's game produces a national title contender, prices have remained high.
As we're seeing in Indianapolis, ticket prices can be greatly influenced by a team's national title hopes. The average ticket price for the Big Ten championship this year is twice that of last year, when neither team had any real hope of making it to the national championship game. (This was partially due to the fact that the two teams with the best record in the Leaders division, Ohio State and Penn State, were ineligible for the conference championship or the national title due to NCAA sanctions.)
Even at the beginning of the college football season, prices on the secondary market revolve around national championship odds. Notre Dame started the season with the highest prices on the secondary market for its regular season home games thanks to last year's (unsuccessful) run at the national title. Ohio State followed with the second-highest ticket prices on the secondary market after an undefeated season that might have led to a national title had the Buckeyes not been on a bowl ban.
National title hopes alone aren't enough for the ACC Championship Game, unfortunately. While Ohio State fans have an easy 173-mile drive from Columbus to Indianapolis, Seminole fans face a far more daunting 483-mile drive to Charlotte. There's also rain in the forecast, which is bad news for an open-air stadium.
I took an informal poll of FSU fans on Twitter and asked why those who are foregoing the trip to Charlotte are doing so, and the same three answers appeared over and over: fans are saving their money for a trip to Pasadena for the national championship, they predict a huge win over Duke, and they're not interested in sitting outside in the rain. It's understandable; oddsmaker Bovada had the Seminoles as a 29-point favorite as of Wednesday evening.
Meanwhile, the game in Indianapolis for the Big Ten championship is predicted to be much closer, and the prices reflect it. The Buckeyes were a six-point favorite as of Wednesday evening.