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Supply And Demand

I remember when I was a student at Penn State I payed $12 per game for season tickets. I have no idea what they cost now, but it's wouldn't surprise me one bit if they were $25 just 10 years later. I believe the cost of a regular ticket was $35 if I remember correctly. Since then they have gone up $2 or $3 every year. This year the school announced tickets will be going up $3 per game and now cost $49 a seat. That's just outrageous when you consider an entire season of tickets for Pitt football will cost you $109 for two seats. My uncle can tell you about the days not that long ago when you could walk up to the Beaver Stadium ticket window the day of the game and buy your ticket.

What we're seeing here is the simple economics law of supply and demand. People are willing to pay that price to see their team, so athletic departments are more than willing to charge it. Even small time programs are getting in on the act and cashing in on their big opponents. Out in Iowa this week, little Iowa State announced they will be charging $90 per ticket when Hawkeyes fans come to see their team play in Ames.

Iowa State sports information director Tom Kroeschell said the price compares to other 2007 premium games in the Big 12, including Texas at Texas A&M ($90), Ne-braska at Texas ($85) and Texas at Oklahoma State ($85).

"If you look at the toughest tickets, the prime opponents, we're right in line," Kroeschell said.

Prime opponents indeed. We're talking about two teams that had losing records last year.

What makes this worse is the addition of the 12th game this year has boosted the budgets of athletic departments all across the country and ticket prices are still going up. I almost wouldn't mind if it meant adding a Miami or USC to the schedule. Heck, I would even take a Rutgers or Syracuse. But what has the 12th game brought Penn State fans? Florida International? Buffalo? Temple? I have to fork over an extra $50 to see this?

At some point the system will not be able to sustain this. Eventually they will price out the common man who will opt to stay home and watch the game on television. Of course, the advent of the Big Ten Channel is the first step of the evolution of making college football a pay-per-view venture. Either way, Miles Brand, Jim Delany, and Tim Curly are going to stick their hands in your pockets if you want to watch Penn State football. God help us if they figure out a way to charge you for listening to the game on the radio. Can a Big Ten satelite radio venture be far away? Unfortunately, with ticket requests at an all time high, I'm afraid we have a ways to go before we reach that tipping point where people start to stay home.