NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- When it comes to the new college football playoff system, it looks like the same factors that have always determined how popular each game is will continue to do so again: match-ups and location. Early sales data on the secondary ticket market suggests that it still comes down to who's playing in the game and where is it being played. This is because fans travel differently for each team, which can greatly impact the demand for tickets.
For years, fans and pundits have clamored for college football to change the way it determines a champion and adopt a playoff format, giving more teams a chance for a title. They got their wish this season and now four teams have a chance to claim a national championship for their school. This is uncharted territory for college football and all eyes will be on how it plays itself out.Easy Travel and a Better Match-Up Means Higher Demand for Sugar Bowl Tickets Than Rose Bowl Tickets
This year's Rose Bowl, which pits Oregon vs. Florida State in one of the semifinal games, currently has an average selling price of $258 per ticket on the TicketNetwork.com marketplace* or nearly 51% lower than last year's game under the old system ($527). Meanwhile, the Sugar Bowl between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Ohio State Buckeyes is selling at $445 on average, or nearly 57% higher than last year ($283).
One of the reasons for the Rose Bowl's worse fortunes may be the location. Neither school involved has an easy trip to Pasadena, Calif., from their respective campuses. The University of Oregon is a 12 hour drive from Eugene, Oreg., and Florida State is located on the other side of the country. Flights from Tallahassee, Fla., to Pasadena will run you more than $700 per airline ticket, according to Priceline.com.
In contrast, last year's Rose Bowl featured the University of Stanford, a California school with a less than a five hour drive from the school's campus. The flip side to all this is the host of this year's Sugar Bowl, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, is only about a four hour drive from Tuscaloosa, Ala.L, and a short flight from Columbus, Ohio.
The greater travel distance to Pasadena is also likely a factor in current listing prices for the semifinal games. The average listing price for Rose Bowl tickets on the TicketNetwork.com marketplace is currently 33% lower at $379 than the $569 list price for its Sugar Bowl counterpart.
In addition to distance and travel time, the Sugar Bowl has the Rose Bowl beat in the match-up by nearly all accounts. The game features two of the most prestigious college football programs in the country, each with multiple national championships to their name and each led by a high profile coach. Five of the previous eight national championships were claimed by teams coached by either Alabama's Nick Saban or Ohio State's Urban Meyer, who won his when he was coaching at Florida.
Both factors have aided the demand of Sugar Bowl tickets, raising the average selling price to $178, which is 47% higher than last year's game.What to Expect for the College Football Championship in Arlington, Texas
The new College Football Championship Game is the great unknown. Unlike last year when it was known which two teams were going to play for the national title, this year, the game's match-up will be determined by the outcome of the two semifinal games.
While one might expect that the uncertainty of who will be playing in the championship game would give fans pause before purchasing tickets, the excitement over the new playoff system has actually helped grow demand. The average ticket selling price of this year's championship is $1,350 per ticket, a 22% increase over last season's BCS Championship.
Like the semi-finals though, proximity to the potential schools playing in the game could have played a factor. Last year's championship between Florida State and Auburn was played in Pasadena, multiple time-zones away from either schools campus. This year's game will be played much more centrally located in Arlington, with only Oregon having a potentially longer trip.
Currently, ticket listing prices range from $662 to $5,294. Interestingly, the low price for the game has now surpassed the average selling price at the time the playoff teams were announced. Once that happened, purchasers were able to decide if the championship game was potentially worth it. But we will know more about how the game will fare once the semi-final games are played.Current Prices
- Average Selling Price: $258
- Average List Price: $379
- Low Price: $155
- High Price: $4,412
- Average Selling Price: $445
- Average List Price: $569
- Low Price: $292
- High Price: $8,825
College Football Championship
- Average Selling Price: $1,350
- Average List Price: $1,573
- Low Price: $662
- High Price: $5,294
For more information on the upcoming Sugar and Rose Bowls, visit the TicketNetwork blog.
*Ticket sales data is as of 12/10/2014 8:00 a.m. EST. Trademarked names are the property of their respective owners. TicketNetwork does not claim any right or ownership to any performer or venue name, or other trademark contained in this release. These names are strictly used for descriptive purposes and do not imply an endorsement or partnership.
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