Dothan Eagle: Ticket fever

January 16, 2011

Editorial: Ticket fever

By Dothan Eagle editorial
Published: January 11, 2011

But several lawmakers took advantage of the offer of tickets at “face value” – the per-seat “ family” price offered to high-dollar university boosters. Perhaps they convinced themselves that paying for something of value removes any perception that they’re exploiting their public office for personal gain. They would be wrong.”

Some call it loyalty, team spirit and dedication. Others call it lunacy.

Whatever the label, the scramble for tickets to see the Auburn Tigers and the Oregon Ducks in the BCS championship game in Glendale, Ariz., certainly stirred up the economy. A representative for Stub Hub, the online ticket marketplace, told the Birmingham News that the game had unseated Game 5 of the 2010 World Series as its No. 1 sporting event. Last week, it was the hottest thing going.

That’s why we’re puzzled to learn that several state elected officials were given the opportunity to buy tickets to the championship game from Auburn University at “face value.”

The cost of these tickets are relatively fluid, but were available to boosters at relatively low prices depending on their level of financial support to the university. These tickets could be obtained for about $300. Students who were fortunate enough to win the opportunity to purchase one of 1,500 available to the student body would pay $200.

For anyone else, the sky was the limit.

Stub Hub told the News that the most it had been paid for a single ticket was $9,446. But that was last Thursday, and the marketplace likely changed drastically between then and kickoff Monday. Late last week, some outlets were contacting customers offering to buy back tickets for what they paid for them, along with a $2,000 per ticket bonus. At least one buyer has filed a lawsuit, contending that a ticket brokerstiffed him after he’d paid $750 each for tickets, refunding his money with the explanation that a supply of seats did not come through. The buyer contends that the broker was later selling tickets for as much as $11,000 each.

If one considers that the marketplace dictates a thing’s worth, then the skyrocketing value of a seat inUniversity of Phoenix stadium for Monday’s game speaks volumes about financial priorities and the allure of college football.

Where our elected officials are concerned, it also underscores the disingenuity of “buying” tickets to appear ethical.

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