As interest in the Bowl Championship Series football game between Alabama and LSU increases, so does the price of attending the contest.
Most tickets for the game are at least $1,000. A hotel room in the New Orleans area could cost at least $200 per night with most hotels requiring a three-night minimum stay.
“This could be one of the toughest sports tickets of all time to get your hands on,” said Clay Ingram, spokesman for Birmingham-based AAA-Alabama. “We have a package that includes a ticket to the game and three nights in the Hampton Inn downtown that started out $2,499 per person on Sunday and is already up to $2,999 per person because the price of tickets keeps going up.”
Even with the high prices, Ingram said tickets for the Jan. 9 game are going fast.
“Anyone who wants to go needs to buy a ticket now because they are all going to be gone in just a few days,” he said. “I don’t see a flood of tickets coming on the market just before the game and driving prices down. I expect prices are going to keep increasing right up until game time.”
Doris Cofield, of Travel Unlimited in Florence, said business is brisk for tickets and lodging packages.
“We’re getting lots of calls from people asking about prices,” she said. “The prices are extremely high for this game. We have a package for $2,999 that includes an end zone ticket and three nights lodging. I saw some tickets between the 40 and 50 yard lines that were selling $5,725 each just for the ticket. There are not any bargains for this game.”
Joellen Ferrer, public relations manager for Internet ticket seller StubHub, said demand for BCS championship tickets is incredible.
“By far, it’s the top-selling bowl game on our site,” Ferrer said. “Demand is trending higher than last year, and we expect fans will continue to buy tickets at a rapid pace right up until kickoff.”
Kelly Schulz, vice president of communications for the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, said hotel rooms there are in short supply.
“We have 38,000 hotel rooms in the New Orleans metro area and most of them are already booked for the championship game,” she said. “The whole city is going to be jammed for the game.”
Ferrer said Alabama and LSU’s regular season meeting was the top-selling college football game of the year for California-based StubHub.
Ferrer said football fans who plan on waiting until almost game time to purchase tickets could be disappointed. Any tickets that remain as game time nears are going to be in high demand by other fans who were waiting on a last-minute bargain.
With ticket prices being high and the supply extremely limited, Michele Mason, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of North Alabama, warns football fans to be careful where they shop.
“If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” Mason said. “If somebody is offering tickets a lot cheaper than everyone else, those cheap tickets might be counterfeit. If the seller asks that the money be wired rather than allowing you to pay by credit card or PayPal, that’s another red flag for a possible scam.”
Mason recommends when purchasing tickets online to use sellers who are well known and have a history of providing good service.
Dennis Sherer can be reached at 256-740-5746 or dennis.sherer@TimesDaily.com.