Even though it will be the first opportunity for members of the general public to attend a game at Ohio Stadium since 2019, there are still plenty of tickets available for Saturday’s home opener against Oregon.
During a press conference on Tuesday morning to discuss gameday operations and protocols for Ohio Stadium this year, Ohio State senior associate athletic director of ticketing Brett Scarbrough revealed that there are still approximately 10,000 single-game tickets available for the Buckeyes’ first home game of the year at the Shoe.
If that doesn’t change, that could mark a notable decline in attendance compared to pre-pandemic years at Ohio Stadium. Scarbrough said Ohio State is expecting more than 90,000 fans at Saturday’s game. From 2003-2019, however, all but one game at Ohio Stadium (Rutgers in 2018, when attendance was just 93,057 on a rainy day at the Shoe) had an official attendance of more than 100,000 fans.
Ohio State will need to sell thousands more tickets this week to reach six-figure attendance on Saturday. Scarbrough said he is hopeful for more ticket sales over the next four days, but stopped short of predicting that attendance would reach 100,000.
“I think we could, but I think we’ll have at least 90,000 there on Saturday,” Scarbrough told Eleven Warriors after the press conference. “Certainly after the win in Minnesota, we’re hoping that we get some good activity this week and move some of these tickets and fill up the stadium. We’ve had some good activity over the weekend.”
Scarbrough believes “there’s probably a lot of contributing factors” that have led to the number of tickets available. One of those factors, of course, is the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing, and some fans who would typically go to games have chosen to stay home and watch the game on TV rather than spend hours in a large group of people.
“I think hesitancy to come back into a gameday environment probably is a pretty big contributing factor as to why we have so many tickets available,” Scarbrough said.
That said, Ohio State’s ticket sales – and college football attendance throughout the nation – were already beginning to trend downward even before the pandemic as fans have become increasingly inclined to watch games from the comfort of their own homes.
The cost of tickets for the season opener doesn’t help matters, either, as Ohio State is selling single-game tickets for the Oregon game at a face value of $160.
“I think price probably plays into that a little bit,” Scarbrough said about decreased ticket sales. “People coming out of COVID and whatever that work situation might be, they might not have the disposable income that they’ve had in the past, so I think there’s a lot of factors, and it’s hard to nail down just one.”
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said that approximately nine to 10 percent of season ticket holders did not renew their tickets for the 2021 season, also contributing to ticket sales decline.
Numerous other college football stadiums around the country, including Minnesota’s Huntington Bank Stadium for its season opener against Ohio State, were sold out for Week 1 games. As Scarbrough pointed out, though, Ohio Stadium is the third-largest stadium in college football, so its capacity is much higher than most other stadiums; Minnesota, for example, had a sellout with an attendance of just 50,805.
“If you think about how packed those stadiums were and the capacity of those stadiums, we’re gonna have that many or more people in our stadium, it’s just we’re so big, that’s why we have this surplus of tickets available,” Scarbrough said.
Fans who are interested in purchasing tickets for this weekend’s game – or any of Ohio State’s seven home games this season, as single-game tickets remain available for all of them – can do so by visiting ohiostatebuckeyes.com.