With the kickoff of college football this weekend, the 3-month race for the college football playoffs will be underway. Based on pre-season rankings, it’s Alabama’s to lose. While they have the top pre-season ranking, when it comes to ticket prices, they’re only the 7th most expensive home average this season. At an average price of $323, the 2017 runner-up Georgia Bulldogs have the most expensive college football ticket in the nation. Perhaps the biggest surprise in the top 25 is LSU, which are the fourth most expensive tickets in the country. That’s less the result of their 25th pre-season ranking than it is the fact that both UGA makes their way to death valley for the first time in ten years. That, in addition to an Alabama visit, puts LSU in the top five for the first time since 2011.
Compared to last year, the average price of all top 25 teams in the TicketIQ dropped 15.5%. Whether this is a one year blip are part of the larger cyclical price correct across college sports remains to be seen. The Wall Street Journal did a piece on the growth of unsold college football tickets this week, and it's possible the 2018 drop is correlated to that trend.
Biggest Ticket Price Drops from 2017
Despite their scandal-ridden offseason, Ohio State football tickets have the third most expensive tickets in the nation at an average price of $226. Prices for Ohio State tickets, however, are down 32%, which marks the fourth-biggest price drop from 2017 for any team, behind Florida State and Tennessee and Alabama, which has prices down 53% compared to last year. Other notable drops this season include Michigan football tickets, which are down 31% after another year of unfulfilled expectations in Ann Arbor under Jim Harbaugh. While not in the top five, Notre Dame tickets also had a major price drop from 2017, falling 26%.
Biggest Ticket Price Increases from 2017
Coming within one play of the national championship last year, Bulldog fans seem to have gotten over the painful loss in Atlanta by driving up ticket prices 25% from last season. That’s only good for the 4th-largest increase this season, and trails TCU’s 51% increase. With a pre-season ranking of 16th in the nation, TCU fans are excited about their prospects, and are being helped by Oklahoma’s October 20th visit, which is the most expensive game of the season. While Nebraska isn’t showing up in the pre-season rankings, they do have the third-highest price increase compared to last year, largely as the result of new coach Scott Frost, who led UCF to a perfect season last year. That increase is good to move them Nebraska Football tickets the the 6th most expensive in the country this season.
Full Top 25
While the final game last year pitted SEC versus SEC, the SEC also leads the list of the top 25 most expensive home averages for 2018. In total, nine SEC teams rank amongst the top 25 most expensive tickets in the country. The next most represented conference is the Big10, with five teams listed in the top 25, followed by the Big 12, which has four teams in the top 25. Clemson and Florida State are the lone members of the ACC to crack the top 25.