Let me start by saying that I hate the fact this FanPost stems from a tweet by Darren Rovell, but it's true. In between tweets featuring long division calculations and other mundane "sports business" factoids, he hits home with this:
Penn State hasn't even sold 3,000 tickets to the TicketCity Bowl. The business fears of not taking them were justified.— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) December 15, 2011
I think the natural reaction that Rovell shares above probably resonates with most people. Nobody here needs to be reminded why. But bowl ticket sales info is always a muddy picture that a 140 character tweet will never fully explain. Here's an excerpt from a PennLive article that Rovell likely gets his info from:
As of Wednesday afternoon, Penn State had sold less than half the 6,500 tickets it was alloted for the TicketCity Bowl in Dallas, Texas on Jan. 2.
"We’re pushing 3,000 real hard, and we’re still getting a lot of traffic from alums in the Dallas-Fort Worth area," said Bud Meredith, Penn State’s Director of Ticketing Operations. "Right now, our hope is to get 4,000 sold out of the total allocation."
About 500 of the 6,500 tickets have been reserved for the marching band.
So PSU has sold about half of their allotment, an allotment, mind you, that is fully bought and paid for so the bowl committee ain't care. If PSU doesn't sell them, it's their loss. Rovell provides no comparisons to other bowls in its class or any context of ticket sales in the short history of the TicketCity Bowl. Who needs context? To say that the "slow" start to the sale of PSU-allotted tickets proves business fears were justified is the lazy conclusion. I'm not saying it's absolutely wrong, but it doesn't explain everything.
Fortunately, there is some information out there that may shed some light on why PSU sponsored ticket sales have been slow and if the rest of the tickets are selling at all.
First, there's PSU's ham-fisted attempts to sell the tickets through GoPSUSports.com. Here's what you see when you get to the purchase site:
What the heck is "Stadium via Phone" anyway? And that seating chart? Yeah, that's not what the Cotton Bowl looks like. OK, maybe it's just a weird error. Let's say we want 4 tickets, here's what we see:
Oh great, Section AWAY s 310-313. Clearly, the purchaser has no idea what seat they will get and are paying $75 for that right. Sounds like a swell deal. And don't go thinking those numbers correspond to a range of sections in the stadium. Here's the real Cotton Bowl seating chart:
Mind you, the red sections are being sold on the TicketCity Bowl website for $75. Are those the sections you will get if you purchase from PSU's allotment? A reasonable assumption, but ultimately unclear. Furthermore, the $75 level are the most expensive seats available. If you're a more frugal PSU fan, you can easily get $50 or $25 seats or even the famed 4 Tix, 4 Dogs, and 4 Sodas for $99 deal. And guess what: you'll actually know what seats you are purchasing! A novel idea in sports marketing! Wonder if Darren Rovell knows...
Anyway, if you're interested, go check out the Bowl website to look around at the various sections and see what is available. There is a nice interactive map to see what specific seats are still left. Upper deck end zone sections are "unavailable", so I'm guessing those sections were never even for sale, and wouldn't be for sale regardless of what teams were playing. Corner sections are pretty sparsely populated at this point. However, several prime sections behind the respective benches are either unavailable or completely full. And there are still 17 shopping days left to gobble up your tickets.
I don't think anyone in their right mind thought the 102,000 seat Cotton Bowl would be full for the 2nd run of a terribly named bowl in Dallas, no matter who was playing. But it looks like the TicketCity Bowl will not sink to new depths of ACC Championship Game (or Pitt home game) emptiness, as Rovell implies with his lazy tweet.