College football tickets: Conference championships provide varying price points
Got some money left over from Black Friday shopping and looking to splurge on some championship-level college football? The options abound, as Friday and Saturday feature some of the best teams battling it out for conference titles (and possibly College Football Playoff bids).
And depending on which game you’re interested in, the prices range differ tremendously.
It will cost you a pretty penny to see the first SEC championship played in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, but with both Auburn and Georgia likely playing for a playoff berth, it might be worth it. On the other hand … if you’re in the Bay Area on Friday, a ticket to check out Stanford and USC clash for the Pac-12 title won’t cost much more than the Uber fare to and from Levi’s Stadium.
Using pricing figures provided by TicketCity, here’s a look at what you’ll need to spend to get an up-close view of the Power 5 championship games this weekend:
(Note: Rankings used are those associated with latest College Football Playoff standings)
College football’s top Championship Week ticket options
Pac-12 Championship Game: No. 12 Stanford vs. No. 10 USC
Where: Levis’ Stadium; Santa Clara, Calif.
When: Friday, Dec. 1; 8 p.m. ET
Median ticket price: $93
How much to get in the door: $26
It’s officially a neutral-site game, since it’s being played on the home field of the San Francisco 49ers. But the Pac-12 Championship Game is pretty close to Stanford. So it’s no surprise Cardinal fans have snapped up tickets at a pretty good clip.
Due to overwhelming support from Cardinal fans, Stanford's #Pac12FCG allotment is sold out. Stanford fans still looking for tickets near the primary Stanford sections (see map) can purchase directly here 👉 https://t.co/H3zWNZUO7K
— Stanford Football (@StanfordFball) November 27, 2017
That’s a good indication fans are planning ahead and will show up early to avoid the kind of traffic that normally makes playing at 5 p.m. local time a headache in California. And USC fans figure to come up from the Los Angeles area the day before to watch the Trojans play in their first Pac-12 final since 2015.
That game saw the Trojans lose to Stanford, which is 3-0 in Pac-12 Championship Games. In fact, the North Division has won all six title games but — USC beat Stanford earlier this season, so this might be the year the South finally rises.
Big 12 Championship Game: No. 3 Oklahoma vs. No. 11 TCU
Where: AT&T Stadium; Arlington, Texas
When: Saturday, Dec. 2; 12:30 p.m. ET
Median ticket price: $257
How much to get in the door: $102
From 2011-16 the Big 12 did not hold a championship game, opting instead to base its “one true champion” on its 10 teams playing a true round-robin conference schedule. And in those six years the league got exactly one team into either the BCS Championship Game or the CFP (Oklahoma in 2015).
Realizing the error of their ways — while also aware of the kind of revenue that can be created — the Big 12 powers that be brought the conference championship game back. And it figures to be the most well-attended title game in league history.
That’s because it’s being played in AT&T Stadium, which will have a capacity of 80,000 for this game but could probably squeeze a few more into the massive facility. The 2006 final, between Nebraska and Oklahoma, drew 80,031 to Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.
Oklahoma will make the playoffs with a win while TCU would need a victory and a lot of help.
SEC Championship Game: No. 2 Auburn vs. No. 6 Georgia
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium; Atlanta
When: Saturday, Dec. 2; 4 p.m. ET
Median ticket price: $725
How much to get in the door: $442
For more than 20 years the Georgia Dome was the home of SEC Championship Game, and in that time Alabama made nine appearances (including four of the last five). Many called that building the Crimson Tide’s second home because of their dominance in SEC finals (5-0 since 2009) and various early-season games.
Well that building is no longer, having been demolished earlier this month, so it’s time for someone else to lay claim to Mercedes-Benz Stadium being their home away from home. Will it be Georgia, which is playing close to its campus, or the Auburn team that beat the Bulldogs 40-17 three weeks ago when Georgia was No. 1?
Auburn is the first two-loss team to be ranked in the top 4 of the College Football Playoff rankings at any point, the product of handing both the Bulldogs and Crimson Tide their first loss of the season, while they were ranked No. 1, in the Tigers’ last three games. Auburn will make the CFP for the first time with a win … as should Georgia.
Whoever wins, they’ll be doing so in front of a crowd full of people who apparently aren’t concerned about the cost of tickets. Seats in the upper deck are going for the equivalent of a monthly payment on a small SUV.
Big Ten Championship Game: No. 8 Ohio State vs. No. 4 Wisconsin
Where: Lucas Oil Field; Indianapolis
When: Saturday, Dec. 2; 8 p.m. ET
Median ticket price: $196
How much to get in the door: $93
Wisconsin is the only unbeaten team left from a power conference (sorry, UCF). The Badgers beat their 12 scheduled opponents by an average of 22.8 points, but it’s the collective quality of those foes that explains why they’re ranked behind a trio of non-perfect teams with four combined losses.
The Badgers can erase any doubt of their CFP worthiness by knocking off Ohio State, a team that still believes it has a right to a semifinal bid despite two losses by a combined 46 points.
The Buckeyes managed to make the CFP last year without even winning their side of the Big Ten, but this time around the Buckeyes will probably need to destroy Wisconsin to climb into the final 4. Something akin to what they did to the Badgers in the 2014 Big Ten final, a 59-0 drubbing en route to winning the national championship.
ACC Championship Game: No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 7 Miami (Fla.)
Where: Bank of America Stadium; Charlotte, N.C.
When: Saturday, Dec. 2; 8 p.m. ET
Median ticket price: $239
How much to get in the door: $96
Clemson is the defending national champion and is looking good to make the playoff for the third consecutive season. The Tigers moved back into No. 1 in the latest rankings thanks to losses by Alabama and Miami, and a third straight ACC title will lock up that top spot after entering the CFP No. 2 last season.
That requires handing the Hurricanes a second loss in a row after they started out 10-0. Miami lost 24-14 at Pittsburgh in its regular-season finale last Friday.
Clemson has won five in a row since its loss at Syracuse on Oct. 13, winning by an average 24 points. Miami only allows 18.3 points per game.
Miami’s first trip to the ACC final could be why the average ticket price is so high this season. Per TicketCity, from 2012-16 the median price for this game was $75 with a high of $175 in 2015 (when Clemson beat North Carolina).