The Big East and ACC have been much maligned in recent years for their play on the field. Now, they aren’t selling tickets to the games.
Virginia Tech has sold just over 9,300 tickets, while West Virginia has only sold 5,700. The schools were each given 17,500 to sell.
So what’s the deal with the lagging sales?
It depends on who you ask.
Ask a fan of either school, and they’ll point you to the cheap tickets you can find through the secondary market. StubHub has Orange Bowl tickets for as low as $39 and Sugar Bowl tickets for as low as $55. This is at least half of what the official prices are for the worst seats in the house.
They’ll also tell you that the game itself is not that exciting. The teams’ respective opponents are No. 13 Michigan and No. 15 Clemson. They’ll also tell you that the game is in the middle of the week and that airfare is insanely expensive.
The more pessimistic fans will tell you that they don’t want to go see their team lose—both the Hokies and Mountaineers failed miserably to impress in their final game of the season.
There are three other things going against Virginia Tech, though. First was the shooting of police officer Deriek Crouse on campus on Thursday, which obviously puts the minds of the alumni and fans on the safety and well-being of everyone on campus.
Second was the fact that the ticket office decided to randomly move the sale of tickets to the general public from Monday to the following Friday. Some will say that this directly impacted the sales, but that argument will be tested this coming week. If sales are still not even close to 17,500 by December 19, it was clearly just an excuse.
Third was the fact that the Sugar Bowl came as a complete surprise to most fans. Season ticket holders are given the option of pre-ordering tickets from the bowls the ACC is affiliated with, and that did not include the Sugar Bowl. There are no specific numbers on pre-announcement sales.
If you have reasons why West Virginia hasn’t sold many tickets, please leave a note in the comment section about it because I have yet to find anything specific to the school.
At the end of the day, though, these are all excuses compared to the one important question: Are Hokie and Mountaineer fans gaming the system to get cheaper seats, or will they just not show up to the games?
Virginia Tech has consistently brought big crowds wherever it has gone, and many fans insist they are waiting to buy tickets through secondhand markets. West Virginia, however, was called out by its own coach earlier this season for not showing up to home games.
It is only the second week of December, so speculation is all we have to go on. Let’s hold off on total judgment until January when we see how many people are in the stands wearing school colors.
If Virginia Tech and West Virginia haven’t filled out the rest of the stadiums, feel free to go off on the BCS for having a system that inherently supports putting them in above teams like Boise State and Kansas State.