If you're looking to attend the inaugural College Football Championship Game, expect to pay a hefty price. However, while folks debate cost, the real point of note is the value being built into the experience by the two primary ticket vendors for the event.
At the bottom? An $1,899 "Gameday Hospitality Package." For fans who know they want to be in Jerry's World for the first game, regardless of the teams involved, the cheapest entry will cost nearly two grand to make it happen.
Yes, the price certainly seems steep, but the beauty of it is the planners are trying to make it worth it. Not just a ticket to get into the building. Not just the right to a seat in the nosebleeds with a bad view. Not just a paid opportunity to climb steps, pay for a bevy of high-priced stadium concessions and then go home.
Rather, they are building out the experience to make it worth the attendee's while; even the lowest-priced championship goer will get a sound bang for all two thousand bucks spent.
Ticket packages for events have long been a part of the American sports experience. Booster clubs have been working accommodations, tickets, meals and fun events into the cost of traveling for a big game. What the Colonnade Group and Prime Sport are offering is not new, but it does speak to the climate of the sporting experience.
Going to big-time sporting events has never been an Everyman affair, and now the idea of a premium experience is a necessity to draw that splurge out of fans who could watch the game at home in high definition. Just a ticket is not going to be the draw; the overall experience is how venues and promoters have to pull people into the mix.
Promoters, venues and teams understand this point. At the basic level, the CFB Playoff packages include, per Prime Sport:
GAMEDAY HOSPITALITY EXPERIENCE
Pregame hospitality, premium venue (open three hours pregame)
Full premium menu and top-shelf open bar
Collegiate football legends appearances
$50 merchandise coupon
Exclusive stadium collection game program voucher
Souvenir College Football Playoff lanyard with ticket sleeve
Preferred Playoff Premium stadium parking (parking fees not included)
Putting everything into the mix is critical, and the providers are working to squeeze an experience into a sporting event. Tickets to main events already trend toward high prices, and for those already planning to break the bank to attend, adding value is a positive.
These packages are merely reflective of what is growing into a must on the collegiate landscape. New stadium expansion and renovation projects have a keen eye on building value into the tickets, much like this one-game experience pushes to do for the crowd.
Attending a game is becoming more about the premium experience than just being there.
Make no mistake—there will be regular, Plain Jane tickets available at lower prices. However, on the fans' side, being there in a cheap, bad seat does not top the Wi-Fi, HD and replay experience at home. On the business side, the fan who can just afford to be there is simply not as desirable as someone willing and able to pay for the luxury.
The College Football Playoff was always going to be a high-dollar affair. The pricing packages should come as no surprise to those who have been paying attention to the trends in big-ticket sporting events.
The key is that the College Football Playoff, and its partners, are working to add value to that ticket—and for fans who can afford the packages, that is a positive.