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Iowa cracks top 25 ranking — for ticket prices

[ 0 ] September 6, 2013 |
University of Iowa students enter Kinnick Stadium for Iowa's game against Northern Illinois on Saturday, Aug. 31. 2013. David Scrivner / Iowa City Press-Citizen

University of Iowa students enter Kinnick Stadium for Iowa’s game against Northern Illinois on Saturday, Aug. 31. 2013. David Scrivner / Iowa City Press-Citizen

Despite what now is a seven-game losing streak dating back to last season, the Iowa football team still demands a high price on the open market.

The average cost of a ticket is one of the few areas where you’ll find Iowa ranked in the top 10 nationally.

Iowa began the 2013 season with the ninth most expensive average ticket price of $166, according to an article written by Jesse Lawrence that appeared in the August issue of Forbes Magazine. Lawrence is the founder and chief executive officer for the ticket search engine TiqIQ.

He calculates the average ticket prices by aggregating sellers from online shopping websites such as eBay and updates the rankings each week. Iowa dropped to No. 11 in this week’s rankings with an average cost of $160, while Iowa State climbed into the top 25 nationally at No. 25 with an average ticket price of $121.

Iowa has the most expensive average ticket price for a team that isn’t ranked in any top 25 poll.

Lawrence said several factors are responsible for Iowa’s high ranking, but none more than a 2013 home schedule that includes games against Michigan State, Wisconsin and Michigan. Fans from those three schools often will spend more than face value to secure a ticket.

“Those are three big games that all have an average price of over $200,” Lawrence said Wednesday. “So I think if you look at the schedule, I think that’s really what is driving it more than anything is these marquee teams that are coming in.”

Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta hadn’t read the article when interviewed Tuesday, so he was reluctant to comment.

“It did surprise me a little bit,” Barta said of Iowa’s top-10 ranking. “But I haven’t seen the article.”

Barta said he’s comfortable with Iowa’s ticket prices, which range from $25 to $70 for a single-game ticket.

“It’s not unusual when you look at our prices and compare them to other schools, ours doesn’t look out of whack,” Barta said.

Dirk Keller has been purchasing season tickets for Iowa football since 1977 and has only missed four home games during that time. His reaction was mixed when told where Iowa ranked on the list of most expensive tickets.

“I wouldn’t say it bothers me, but I find it interesting,” said Keller, who grew up in southern Illinois and graduated from Iowa in 1979. “And I have to wonder if it’s worth it. If the gameday experience had improved along with the talent level on the field and in conjunction with the increase in tickets prices, than I wouldn’t feel so bad about it. But the gameday experience I think is really regressing.”

Keller’s dissatisfaction with the gameday experience, coupled with Iowa’s woes on the field, has him wondering why anybody would pay more than face value for a ticket.

“I’ve got a burr in my saddle,” said Keller, whose seats are in the north end zone. “The gameday experience isn’t as enjoyable as it used to primarily because of all the TV timeouts, and I think it’s getting to the point where general public tickets are priced out of reach for a lot of the general public. Not only do you have to pay as much as $70 a ticket, but you also have to be a contributor.”

Notre Dame has supplanted Nebraska as the team with the most expensive average ticket price at $282. Ohio State is second in this week’s rankings at $250 followed by Michigan ($215), Oregon ($188) and Texas A&M ($187).

Iowa is one of six Big Ten teams in this week’s top 25 rankings. Nebraska is ranked sixth with an average price of $176, Penn State is 20th at $132 and Michigan is 23rd at $123.

The Southeastern Conference leads the way with nine teams ranked in the top 25, led by Georgia at No. 7 with an average price of $172. Two-time defending national champion Alabama is ranked eighth with an average ticket price of $168.

Lawrence said location also impacts the price of tickets. Neither USC nor UCLA are ranked in the top 25 mostly because they face so much competition for consumers’ money.

“If you’re in Iowa City and you’re on campus, there is one thing you want to do, you want to go to the game,” Lawrence said. “If you’re out in Los Angeles, I don’t know how many things you can do.”

Reach Pat Harty at 339-7370 or pharty@press-citizen.com.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Pat Harty: Columnist Pat Harty has been covering the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Press-Citizen since 1991. Originally from Des Moines, he currently writes columns and covers Hawkeye men's basketball for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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