Ohio State Football Ticket Prices Are Skyrocketing. Here's Why.

By Ramzy Nasrallah on April 23, 2014 at 11:15a
Four kids at an Ohio State game: Not cheap

Expectations for Ohio State football were soaring heading into the 1904 season.

The university athletic association even commissioned the installation of 1,500 extra bleacher seats on the east side of Ohio Field (for you youngsters - today that's the sidewalk across High Street from Buckeye Donuts) to accommodate all of the freshly-minted bandwagoners they were sure would pile onto campus to see the best Buckeye team yet.

It turns out a 6-5 team with zero tradition doesn't exactly set the demand curve on fire, and that's what happened 110 seasons ago. Ohio State's soaring expectations went unmet, those extra fans never showed up and the new bleachers stood empty for the majority of that disappointing five-loss season.

Coach Edwin Sweetland lasted one more year in Columbus before skipping town to help some guy named Pop Warner run his football team at Cornell.

The university had priced tickets for that overhyped 1904 season in tiers: A "regular" game entry would cost fans a quarter while the two "deluxe" games (against the Michigan Wolverines and, yeah you guessed it, the Carlisle Indians) would run four times as much.

I looked it up so you wouldn't have to: That precious dollar in 1904 is worth about $23 today, which would still be $127 short of face value for a single Ohio State-Michigan ticket this November.

2001 $43 -
2002 $45 (vs. UM) 4.7%
2003 $47 4.4%
2004 $57 (vs. UM) 21.3%
2005 $58 1.8%
2006 $59 (vs. UM) 1.7%
2007 $60 1.7%
2008 $62 (vs. UM) 3.3%
2009 $63 1.6%
2010 $70 (vs. UM) 11.1%
2011 $70 -
2012 $70 (vs. UM) -
2013 $79 12.9%
2014 $150 (vs. UM) 90%

Yes, tickets to The Game in 2014 cost $150 apiece. The last two times Ohio State hosted Michigan in 2010 and 2012 that same ticket cost $70. Even with inflation, you could have attended both of those games combined for less than it costs this year.

So why did the university abruptly jack up the price? The optics for a hike like this are terrible. They know this, but they did it anyway.

Back in 2012 Ohio State brought in a consulting firm to conduct a pricing study to determine if it was maximizing its ticket revenues. The firm took the secondary market (Ohio State has a contract with Ticketmaster, so it already gets a significant piece of it) as well as scalpers into consideration.

The firm's recommendation was to raise ticket prices on what is already the highest face value college football ticket in the country. It's not just 2013 and 2014 ticket prices that are jumping, either; your can expect your ticket to The Game in 2016 to cost $175 if not more.

Those consultants also suggested Ohio State increase the annual ante for its President's Club ($2,500) and Buckeye Club ($1,500) donation minimums, either of which grants the donor the right to purchase season tickets.

You may think these hikes price out the average fan from buying football tickets and going to games, and you would be wrong, because only suckers pay retail.

Average fans don't have to be wealthy to join Buckeye Club - or even President's Club - every year in order to buy the right to buy tickets. Average fans simply need to understand how to compliantly pass their costs for enjoying Ohio State football onto someone else.

In most cases, that someone is going to be the US Treasury.

First, that Buckeye Club/President's Club ante - the IRS has a nice little rule specifically for university donations that are made in order to buy the right to purchase tickets: You can deduct 80% of that donation from your taxes every year.

This means joining the Scarlet & Gray level of Buckeye Club - which at $1,500 gets you the right to buy two tickets - gives you a $1,200 tax deduction. Oh, you need a stadium parking pass too? That requires a $3,000 gift, which knocks $2,400 off your income.

fans simply need to understand how to compliantly pass their costs for enjoying Ohio State football onto someone else.

If you would like to travel with the team, get field passes, have cocktails with Gene Smith and gain all of the other perks that come with OSU's Super Creepy All-America level donation tier, that $25,000 gift gifts you a $20,000 tax break.

This is uncapped, provided your donations aren't more than half of your Adjusted Gross Income, which for the vast majority of Americans who bother to file returns is over $50,000 annually. That's the average fan.  

So if you can endure the angst of writing a big check to Ohio State by simply remembering you'll be getting 80% of it back in tax breaks once you show the IRS your fancy Buckeye Club sticker.

That's only the beginning: You can get even more of your football investment covered.

Once you become a President's Club member you will need to actually buy the tickets. You, being a person...or a corporation, since the United States has laws about corporate personhood that extend to businesses numerous rights and recognitions afforded to individuals.

So just incorporate yourself. Provide consulting, freelance in the trade of your choosing or even start a blog (wink) and you've got nice catalyst for incorporating. As you are probably aware, corporations buy up a lot of tickets - not only because they have the capital to do so but because college football games can become business expenses when you're a business.

Up, up, up.

If you're in sales, already own a business or run a little side enterprise, terrific - you are already in great shape to use your Buckeye football tickets as a legitimate business expense (provided your business is both legitimate and legal, with sincere apologies to you self-taught unregistered pharmacists and/or distributors).

Your keys to Ohio Stadium's gates are tucked into the law, the tax code and accepted, legal business practices - all of which are legal. Short of being a minor, in a lousy financial situation or both - getting Ohio State tickets isn't a terribly difficult or expensive task no matter what the university charges.

Ohio State's consultants probably discovered the university could inflate the price tags on both its donation minimums as well as all tickets - especially the big tickets - without suffering a significant shortfall in paid attendance. Note that italicized word - it's a finance decision, not a football one, and it's rooted in how college sports enthusiasts can or already do pay for their game day habits.

As long as there continue to be easy and legal ways for passing along the costs of enjoying college football to the Federal government the acquisition price isn't all that important. Asking for discounts for games against lesser opponents is a naive position, as Ohio State is not in the business of helping its football consumers save money. Only the spring game - an event with a purpose that does not intersect with Ohio State's financial goals - can be given away or put on clearance.

Your keys to Ohio Stadium are tucked into the law, the tax code and ACCEPTED, LEGAL business practices.

It does not matter if FAMU-caliber game tickets barely go for $10 on the street. It also does not matter if Michigan stinks again and the guys on bicycles circling Lane Ave at Olentangy have to unload their tickets for only $90 or even $75. That's not the university's problem, especially since mechanisms are in place to make doing business with Ohio State both secure and financially palatable.

Those unmet expectations of 110 years ago that left the brand new east bleachers of Ohio Field empty don't matter nearly as much today as they did back then. Not in Ohio Stadium, not with Buckeye football now implanted in the state's DNA, not in the Columbus business community and definitely not with our tax laws. The product doesn't even have to be flawless; it simply needs to be good enough (this is a financial declaration, not a football one - or my opinion).

Ohio State will get its larger cut with the very first ticket transaction as well as with all of those lucrative pre-transactions and many of the secondary ones. What happens beyond that - the opponent, the scalping, the weather that day, even the team's record - is inconsequential since the university gets paid first. 

So there truly is zero waste in Ohio Stadium. We've come a long way since 1904.


Comments Show All Comments

MassiveAttack's picture

Hmm....HDTV...free over the air broadcast....I can drink an adult beverage....A bathroom 15 feet away with no line....

The Ohio State University - "Haters love us!"

+22 HS
doodah_man's picture

HDTV with DVR...so the game <PAUSES> while you go to that clean no line restroom...

Jim "DooDah" Day

"If I were giving a young man advice as to how he might succeed in life, I would say to him, pick out a good father and mother, and begin life in Ohio.” --Wilbur Wright, 1910

+10 HS
tommrkr's picture

As someone who cut their cable last year, I can say that OTA games are not as common as they used to be...

+3 HS
Will in Arizona's picture

Sports is the reason I haven't cut the cord, and DirecTV/ESPN/BTN/FOX knows it.

+3 HS
RedStorm45's picture

Well, you're indirectly paying for the broadcast through your cable provider.  Unless you're hooked up with HG antennae or something.


*EDIT - Over the air....I am dumb.  But how do you get those BTN games?

d5k's picture

Or ESPN/ESPN2.  The only over the air games for OSU are the ABC games which are rare.

mmangino's picture

On the deductions, I think you're getting that wrong. You don't get back 80% of your gift, you reduce your taxable income by 80% of your gift. So if you donate $1500, you reduce your income by $1200. At the 25% tax bracket that means your gift costs you $1,200.

+21 HS
BucksfanXC's picture

Thank you for pointing this out before I could. Also it is subject to limitations other than just your AGI, like if you are going to itemize or not, but if you are donating $1,500+, you probably are a Sch A user.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

+2 HS
dcbucks's picture

All this accounting has the SEC troll's heads spinning

+4 HS
dan_isaacs's picture

SEC is a cash business.  No need to get the Gov't involved. :)

Dan Isaacs

+3 HS
daytonbuckeye1983's picture

I love mixing the fantastic worlds of sheltering of income and football...now all of us nerds must all go back to the nerdery with our calculators.

+2 HS
cronimi's picture

And the higher the tax bracket, the more valuable the deduction. So for a taxpayer with a marginal tax rate of 35%, the $1200 deduction is worth $420, resulting in a net cost of $1080. It's kinda like Hollywood -- the richer you are, the more free (or discounted) swag you get. 

+1 HS
3yardsandacloudofdust's picture

Also at the 25% tax bracket, it may not be exactly 25%. The tax brackets work by taxing your income a predetermined percentage up to certain dollar value, then augmenting the percentage for the next set of dollar value (and so on). 

jbcuky's picture

I'll go ahead and post even though i've only read half of the article so far, but your understanding of the tax rules are incorrect.  First, the charitable piece is a deduction, not a credit.  So you don't get a dollar for dollar benefit.  Second, your donation to the food pantry is 100% deductible subject to the same AGI limitations as your deduction for the donation to the school.

+9 HS
Ramzy Nasrallah's picture

Fixed. Feel free to audit my work anytime.


Frostybuck88's picture

Ditto... not dollar for dollar

The Dude abides...

doodah_man's picture

Good news everybody, JBCUKY will be doing all our taxes from now on!

Jim "DooDah" Day

"If I were giving a young man advice as to how he might succeed in life, I would say to him, pick out a good father and mother, and begin life in Ohio.” --Wilbur Wright, 1910

+8 HS
741's picture

Thank you for beating me to the punch JBCUKY. I had to go check the byline to see if this was a DJ article. I'm surprised at you, Ramzy!

Other points of note: President's Club recognition level did in fact get bumped up: from $2,500 donation in 2012 (for the right to receive a 2013 season ticket application) to $3,000 in 2013 (for 2014).

So, for me, I laid out $3,000 in charitable donations to the university. The value of benefits received for the application to buy a pair of football tickets reduces the amount of the gift I can claim as a deduction by $300 (per IRS guidelines). I happen to be in a 28% Federal income tax bracket so my donation to the university results in my taxes being reduced by $756 - i.e., ($3,000 - $300) x .28 = $756.

So, I pay $3,000 for the application (less $756 in reduced taxes), then I paid $1,450 for two season tickets (plus seat back cushions, and Ticketmaster fees), resulting in an (net) outlay of $3,694 for two tickets to seven home games: for a final cost per ticket of $263.86.

I honestly have no problem with the Michigan ticket being priced closer to it's actual market value - I get it.

What I do have a problem with is paying a much higher than market value price for Kent State, etc., etc., etc. - year after year. I have had to eat tickets that could not be sold even for as little as $30 apiece on a few instances. That is the true problem here.

Quit scheduling the crap teams and paying $750,000-$2,000,000 to get them to come here and play glorified scrimmages - or, let the price of those tickets float with the market along with the so-called "Premium" games.


+12 HS
d5k's picture

It is like NFL preseason games, you may be paying "face value" for them but you are really paying for the seat license / future games with the preseason down payment.  Eventually they will have to have liquidating prices for the remaining nosebleed seats on game day that are left unsold for crappy games.  The alumni lottery is their trick to keep from having to do this already.

+2 HS
741's picture

The past few years they have actually had to resort to pre-season public sale of excess (unsold) seats to multiple home games - albeit at face value (not discounted value).

That to be honest pisses me off because of course I had to pay a substantial premium (via my President's Club donation) to buy those same games!


RedStorm45's picture

Props on the accounting.  And putting it in real terms for many people - fathers taking their wives or sons, etc.

@OSUDefender's picture

Good post. Great point on the ridiculous pricing for poor quality opponents. The arrogance and ignorance of whoever is in charge of ticket pricing was exposed during the Spring Game debacle. I doubt OSU learns anything from that, however.

CC's picture

741 - Bingo  You hit the nail on the head.

I know I'm one of the ones that allows them to get away with this move, but it's starting to get a little obnoxious.  I'm fine with raising ticket prices with the market, but they should also be lowered by the market.  FAMU really pissed me off last year.  I don't care what the excuse was, it was a joke.

That home schedule sucked last year.


+2 HS
741's picture

I commented in another thread that in terms of resources Ohio State Football has at it's disposal we are the relative equivalent of the New York Yankees. As such, if you are going to charge these prices, you better deliver championships. No excuses.

One championship in 45 years is not going to cut it.

I see significant potential for esophageal spasms in UFM's future. (I keed.)

XUbuckeye's picture

Ah, good thinking Gene. 

All I can do right now is just shake my head, Gene is lucky we have the fan base we do. 

"So when you get knocked on your butt, get up, get over it, and then next time, kick their ass." - Woody Hayes 

+1 HS
bucked up's picture

How much more elitist can this athletic department get? $70-80 per ticket is high but not totally unreasonable. However, $150 per ticket is shameful. If you want to keep jacking up the ticket prices for big games, at least lower the prices for seats in the upper deck. 

+2 HS
Max's picture

See also http://www.forbes.com/sites/jesselawrence/2014/04/18/how-prices-for-brui...


I don't mind OSU cutting out most of the secondary market on a 7-8 game home season.  I do mind paying the same price for a ticket at the top of D deck as for A deck.  With the analytics available (especially partnered with Tickemaster) they should be doing a better job of variable pricing.

+3 HS
Whoa Nellie's picture

I'm sure the so-called "superfans" are incorporated, and since getting on TV, I mean cheering for the Buckeyes, is their business purpose, the tax deductions will be maxed out.  One day, the Shoe will only house fat cat "businessmen" and "superfans".  It'll look like this.

You play for the Corporation Jonathan


“Don’t fear criticism. The stands are full of critics. They play no ball. They fight no fights. They make no mistakes because they attempt nothing. Down on the field are the doers, they make mistakes because they attempt many things.”

+7 HS
doodah_man's picture

You know what those executives dream about out there behind their desks? They dream they're great rollerballers. They dream they're Jonathan; they have muscles, they bash in faces.

Jim "DooDah" Day

"If I were giving a young man advice as to how he might succeed in life, I would say to him, pick out a good father and mother, and begin life in Ohio.” --Wilbur Wright, 1910

+2 HS
45has2's picture

Great post on many levels.

"I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people." -W.W. Hayes

Ramzy Nasrallah's picture

I'm sure the so-called "superfans" are incorporated

You think so?

The Butler's picture

I've never seen that guy...who is he again?

I've trained Canaries in the sport of falconry.


+2 HS
Barnsey69's picture

Clownshoes...pure clownshoes.

Thank the Maker that I was born in Ohio, cradle of coaches, US Presidents, confederate-stomping Generals, and home of The Ohio State University Football Buckeyes- 2014 UNDISPUTED National Champions!

KevinJ's picture


Fixed it for you

+2 HS
jeremytwoface's picture

He has a freaking business card??

I made a thread about this a while back, but I saw him a few weeks ago at COSI in full cowboy gear... Made me want to punch him in the groin area.

And when we win the game, we'll buy a keg of boooooooooze!! And we'll drink to old Ohio 'till we wobble in our shoes.

+1 HS
gm3jones's picture

He stopped by my sons football game once. Seemed pretty cool.

There is nothing more remarkable as learning to think better.

+1 HS
Mi.Buckeye's picture

Does this mean ticket scalpers are going to sell tickets for $800?

Barnsey69's picture

The Ohio State University is the largest corporation in the state...at least until the new prez gets here.

*THE in bold just in case Herbstreit is trolling.

Thank the Maker that I was born in Ohio, cradle of coaches, US Presidents, confederate-stomping Generals, and home of The Ohio State University Football Buckeyes- 2014 UNDISPUTED National Champions!

+3 HS
Bucksfan's picture

You can't diminish the secondary market by raising the face value of the tickets, unless you raise the face value of the tickets to at least the same price as they're worth on the secondary market.  The secondary market doesn't care if Ohio State raises its prices from $70 to $95, or even $150.  Those tickets are still going for $300-$600, even $1000s of dollars on the secondary market.  Do you think a difference of $20-80 is going to matter to someone who's selling A-deck 50 yard line tickets to Ohio State-Michigan for $2000 a piece?

Ohio State wants more money.  That's all.  What they're going to recoup from the secondary market is pathetically small.  And their crowd is going to shift more and more and more to corporate clients and rich old people.  I guess that's why we're going to more night games, so that a large portion of the crowd that doesn't really give a sh*t about Ohio State football can have time to drink themselves into fanhood for a day?

+1 HS
Michael Citro's picture

Soon it'll cost more to attend an Ohio State-Maryland game than it does to get good seats for the Daytona 500.

[adds "sell plasma" to his weekly calendar]

Bucksfan's picture

There are no good seats at the Daytona 500.  HEYOOOO!!!!

Jdadams01's picture

Frankly, this is some Gordon Gekko crap.

+6 HS
RedStorm45's picture

Don't think all of the people shelling out $150+ (and surely $300-$400 if not more for the UM game) will create the "inferno" Urbz is looking for.  He can keep clamoring for a more hostile crowd, but all he has to do is look at the "average" fans who are getting priced out.  And sorry, if you're making $50K, you're probably not incorporating or itemizing enough deductions to warrant the use of Schedule A for your 1040 (unless perhaps you're single, with low health care costs, and almost no debt....then maybe, maybe).

+2 HS
d5k's picture

For most of the middle class, whether you (should) itemize is basically determined by whether you have a mortgage or not.  I also have no problem with higher ticket face value for A deck, as secondary markets are already churning those for over face value easily.  But when bad B/C/D deck tickets cost way more than secondary market value that is a problem.  They really need variable pricing but with the donation level levers they already accomplish that in the season ticket market.  The people who want to go to one game get screwed (or really just forced to use scalpers for less than face value and no ticketmaster fees).

+1 HS
RedStorm45's picture

Almost every other arena/stadium has variable pricing, based on where the seats are.  It's really not a hard concept.

+2 HS
nburns18's picture

i really hope this ticket price hike doesnt affect the amount of people that come to the game (like the spring game).  I would be embarassed to see empty seats at the shoe during a michigan game. 

"You win with people." -Woody Hayes

d5k's picture

I know I wouldn't pay $150 for an obstructed view or D deck seat.  But I've been to my share of huge games where HD now sounds way better to me than nosebleeds for any $ amount.

+1 HS
bucksk1n's picture

My company had six Buckeye Club memberships for decades and it seemed like a good value until use of the secondary market became more prevalent.  Buckeye Club membership were $2000 at the time which is over $100/game and considering that only gave you the right to buy 2 tickets it seemed crazy to continue.  We took the money to the secondary market and doubled our ticket purchases on games our customers actually wanted to see.  It's amazing to me that the consultant thought it wise to raise Buckeye Club costs but then there are a lot of companies that don't look that close at the bottom line.

+1 HS
Bamabucknut's picture

 We are simply cattle to be harvested.

+5 HS
d5k's picture

At last year's prices I agree that the product would just have to be "good enough", but going forward it will have to be a playoff spot contender to justify the ticket prices and keep butts in seats.  But with Urban here that won't be a problem most likely.

alust2013's picture

And this is why I may never get to see another game there. It wasn't too terrible as a student, but when a single ticket to one game could pay for the cable or satellite to watch all of them, no thanks.

Yeesh, I feel like I'm yelling at kids to get off my lawn when I was just in the student section a year and a half ago.

...and Michigan still sucks.

+1 HS
741's picture

Dude, you could have taken a family of four to the FAMU game last year for under $100 buying tickets in the secondary market.

vitaminB's picture

In 20 years football will be played on a soundstage in Burbank.

+3 HS
Ethos's picture

I took my alumni letter for the lottery out of the envelope, saw the price, told my daughter no game this year, and promptly shredded it.

I'll use the savings towards a bigger TV or surround sound system.

What Gene is cutting out are the middle class families who want to bring their kids. FUTURE buckeyes.  He is cutting out the lifeblood of the school.  Pretty soon the stadium will be like the superbowl, all the seats purchased by companies, for companies, with tailgates only to those within the "circle of trust."

Pretty shitty.  I basically realized I will probably never set foot in the stadium again short of a couple more large promotions at my job.  Just costs too much to travel there, plus tickets.  I am ok saving up money for a car, or a tv, or a home repair, I am not ok with budgeting savings for a football game, but I am probably in the minority I guess.

I was pretty upset with that letter...


"I spent 90 percent of my money on women and drink. The rest I wasted." - George Best

+13 HS
Ethos's picture

Just to add to this, what Gene's pricing is going to do, is increase ticket sales at his competition's stadiums.  I'll more then likely buy tickets to Wisconsin, or Illinois, or Indiana, or Nebraska, etc to see the game then I will be ever able to afford to do so in Columbus.  


Sorry, still upset at that letter.

"I spent 90 percent of my money on women and drink. The rest I wasted." - George Best

+1 HS
BuckeyeSouth's picture

There are a lot of good points on here about who gets to buy the tickets and who gets priced out and I don't dispute any of them.  As a fan, I hate the high ticket prices as much as everyone else, but I'm sure the University looks at this totally from a supply & demand perspective.  Ticket prices will continue to rise until the point that folks stop buying them.  With a fan base as large as TOSU's that may never happen therefore ticket prices will continue to balloon.  Since it's a solid 9 hour drive to Columbus from my home it doesn't really impact me, but even if I was within a reasonable driving distance I would still rather watch from home for all of the reasons that many posters above have stated.

Champions.  Undisputed.  

Buckinthemiddle's picture

From an economic standpoint, there is almost no point in trying to go to The Game as an average alumnus. My opportunity cost in going to The Game, is probably about 3x overkill. Meaning, $150/ticket is insane to watch little dots move an invisible object up and down the only reasonably sized thing you can see in the stadium. I would much rather take the trip down to Cbus with my friends, go to Eddies or any other bar on campus, watch the game, get schwasted, have fun, walk around, and talk to people, than be asking the person next to me "What the hell just happened?" every 5 minutes, all for about 1/3 the cost. No thanks.

"I'm in favor of it" - John McKay, on the execution of his team.

+1 HS
1958Buckeye's picture

My son & I have made a tradition of going to one game a year. We have our own little tailgate and head to The Shoe in time to watch Ramp. Being from the Cincy area the UC game looked like a nice little piece of smack down for one uppity in-state rival. Ticket prices appeared to starte at $70. Apparently those seats are gone and the really crap seats that are left start at $125.  I'll be staying home this year unless some corporate type runs into me on the streets and offers me a piece of their tax subsidy. 

Go Bucks!

"Without winners there wouldn't be any civilization." Woody Hayes

RedsBuckeyeBoy's picture

The view from my living room sofa just keeps getting better and better.

+6 HS
Horvath22's picture

Does Ohio have a state income tax credit for contributions to public universities? My wife and I were boosters for the Oakland University Grizzlies(Rochester, Mich.) when they went D-1. The main reason was that we received a 50% state income tax CREDIT, in addition to the aforementiioned US income tax deduction. 

741's picture

In a word: no.

Enzo's picture

I dropped $305 for a club seat to see the Bucks play Navy in Balmer. 

$150 for the UM game seems like a bargain.

German Buckeye's picture

I get the angst from people who live close enough to go to games in the Shoe...unfortunately/fortunately I've never been stationed close enough to Ohio to warrant the cost of travel, lodging, food AND the game ticket to see a game there.  Am I sad, sorta, but I feel I get enough from TV and watching it from a distance.  I'd say ticket prices to live sporting events (professional and major college at least) will always run into the hundred of dollars for families.  I'm stationed in Washington state and went to an Oregon State/Hawaii game in Corvallis last season - sat in the end zone with good view lines, took 4 of 5 kids and had an overall cost of $700 (tickets, gas, food, programs, parking).  I did it once.... 

NW Buckeye's picture

OSU has stepped on a very slippery slope with ticket pricing.  It seems as though there is just a push to make as much money as possible through ticket sales and donations instead of actually marketing the brand for the long term.  The reason they are in a position to raise ticket prices is because of the success of the brand over the last 100+ years. 

The OSU brand used to be identified with the ordinary working middle class Joe.  Heck, when I was in school (early '70's) well through the 80's and into the 90's OSU was viewed as the champion of the middle class.  The elitists were the M*chigans, USC's, Miami's, etc., - schools that perpetuated the upper crust elitism and tried to fill their stadiums with what could have been described as more socialites than true football fans.  My concern about the new pricing scheme is that it will change the make up of who is actually in Ohio Stadium.  You can pretty much be assured that the socialites who can afford to jump on the band wagon when the team is winning will be the first to jump off the wagon when times are not so good.  

As Ramzy so eloquently pointed out in his last post about the spring game, it is important for the brand to succeed with the youngest fans in the community, for they will drive your success for the future.  The every increasing ticket prices will drive away families and rabid fans. How will that hurt the brand going forward? 

There are many 11Wers who are posting that they will not attend games this year because of the ticket price.  As well as others who will not pay the fees to join the exclusive clubs (Buckeye and President's) club, while opting to buy tickets for the games they actually want on the secondary market.  The net effect of this could be a loss of revenue for OSU over time. 

My best advice to the University would be not to overtax the golden goose. 

+5 HS
Whoa Nellie's picture

Dave Brandon saw this announcement and told his staff:  "See, I told you we were on the right track."

“Don’t fear criticism. The stands are full of critics. They play no ball. They fight no fights. They make no mistakes because they attempt nothing. Down on the field are the doers, they make mistakes because they attempt many things.”

Tom57's picture

This is one of the few articles from Ramzy that misses the bigger picture, which is that attendance at CFB games is declining slightly overall and the decline is dramatic in some cases with the student base.

The spring game should have sent a pretty clear message.... the core fan base at OSU is VERY keen on the price of the tickets.

THE THING that separates CFB (and CBB to a lesser extent) from all other major sports is the game day experience, and how that is translated to the media. Whether the athletes are "true" students or not is debatable. But there isn't much to debate about the fans.. they are either students at the school now, were students at the school before or in some way relate to the school and the students from outside... and live somewhat vicariously through the them. For example, Buckeye Nation loves the jump in Mirror Lake or Tiger Nation love Toilet Papering the trees in Toomers Corner whether they ever did it or not.

If jackasses like Gene Smith and the folks that run ESPN, CBS, Fox and BTN don't take special care to foster and ensure the stadiums are full, the students are included as part of the action and the tailgates are thriving.... CFB could become just another minor league sport

+2 HS
Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

I think a lot of people are missing the satire.

+3 HS
El Doug's picture

While I realize that OSU athletics doesn't take money directly from the academic side, I think the hypocrisy is so sweet that most of the faculty and administration of universities drone on about evil, greedy corporations, social justice, etc...  And yet, when "their" money and profits are on the line, it is amazing how closely their behavior mimics that of a profit maximizing enterprise.  The same being true for tuition but that's another story entirely...   


+2 HS
PoKeY21's picture

The bars around campus love this pricing though. In reality the people that get pushed out are the recent college grads that haven't had enough time in life to make disposable income. So they still go tailgating and to the bars for the experience. However in 20-30 years these will be the bread winners in the state. Hopefully OSU isn't alienating its fan base and creating generation after generation of fans who are perfectly content not being season ticket holders.

"It was a woman who drove me to drink, come to think of it I never did hang around to thank her for that"

Seattle Linga's picture

I love me some 1904 Buckeye football

+2 HS
mr.green's picture

I have been to The Game 32 times. 16-15-1 is our record (thanks Urbz for giving me my first winning record). I will be there this year too. The higher price last year allowed me to buy through the michigan athletic department. (There were still tickets available two days before The Game, which was the last time I checked).and that probably saved me money. I have usually scalped tickets and have paid anything from face value to $400 (we lost that one). So I don't see that a higher face value will have a negative impact on what I pay. 

I love watching on TV and I agree with those who say that these exaggerated prices fill the stands with people who sit on their hands. It's definitely the case. Michigan pumps in music throughout the game. Some stadiums pump in crowd noise. It makes up for the people who are just just sitting there because they are bored or overworked or too busy posting on Instagram or posing for a camera man  to know what is happening on the field.   I am not that guy. I prefer the student section actually and I don't like to sit.  But being there -- being there -- when Troy Smith (michigan killer) came onto the field for senior day, when Gonzo caught that pass in Ann Arbor, when Earle won his last game or Tress won his first  -- all those memories are richer because I was THERE.

TV and beer are nice and cheap and would give me more money I could spend on other stuff. Going to Eddie's to watch is always a good time. But I love being in The Shoe, putting my cellphone away for a few hours and enjoying the sport and the team that I am most passionate about. 

Go Bucks! 




+3 HS
bucksfan92's picture

I haven't submitted my alumni football ticket application the last 2 years and I probably never will again.  This obscene money grab by OSU has really turned me off.  I will always be a fan, but I really have no desire to pay $80 or more to watch us pummel the likes of Toledo, FAMU, etc. And  now they want to charge secondary market rates for premium games?  That is stepping over the ethical line.  There will be a day in the not too distant future where that stadium has noticeably empty seats, and that will be a sad day for OSU.

45has2's picture

Well done as usual Ramz. "self-taught unregistered pharmacists and/or distributors" made me laugh out loud.

"I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people." -W.W. Hayes

+1 HS
Jason Gruber's picture

Gene Smith's accountant 

"You win with people." Woody Hayes

"If winning isn't everything, why do we keep score?" Vince Lombardi

"¯\_(ツ)_/¯" Joey Bosa

albinomosquito's picture

Wife and I are looking to attend our first game in the Shoe this year.  A night game seems like a can't miss.  Ticketmaster has Cincinnati tickets starting around $150 a pop.

Any suggestions on where to purchase a ticket at a reasonable price?  Or is that as good as it gets for a night game...?

d5k's picture

If you are talking about the ticketmaster secondary market that is likely just the asking price that a couple people have put on their tickets.  The secondary market should be more active closer to the game.  I would think Cincinnati should be easy to get/scalp C deck tickets at face value but I might be naive here.

klfeck's picture

I'm in my sixth year as a Buckeye Club member and it's the best money I spend all year. I get 7 or 8 days on campus, tailgaiting, and in the shoe for less than 3 grand total including tix. Better than a week on the beach IMHO, and the donation to the Buckeye Club helps student athletes, win win.



Proud parent of a Senior at The Ohio State University

+1 HS
stantmann's picture

I quit going to games a few years ago when the tickets prices jumped, it costs way too much. My only chance was getting scalped tickets (which obviously will rise in price too), otherwise it was Riverwatch to watch the game, which is not a bad option, you feel like you are there, and it doesn't cost a dime other than the beer... What the University will gain in tickets sales, they will lose in future licensed merchandise sales, as new fans will find other things to do on saturdays, less fans, means less sales, which means increased prices in other things - When does it stop?

Johnny-Shane_Utah-Falco's picture

Go away Gene Smith. You truly suck.

-2 HS