Over the last 25 years, college sports has become big money. Last years conference realignment is the latest illustration of how teams are cashing in, at both the Box Office and via media rights participation.
Last year was one of major realignment, with Texas A&M, Missouri and West Virginia all changing conferences. For the Aggies and Mizzou, the potential spoils of the SEC were too good to ignore. Ticket prices for both school’s games against conference opponents have seen an increase in price, with Mizzou leading the way with an increase of 163%, while Aggies tickets have gone up 15%, from $137 to $161. Fans of both teams are paying up for games against Florida, South Carolina, and LSU, and while most of the value this year is being reaped in the secondary market by fans, eventually teams will benefit through increasing their prices directly. Moving to a marquee conference like the SEC also creates much greater demand for season tickets, which in turn drives up the ‘donations’ that are part of college many season ticket packages.
Despite moving to a conference that isn’t as tough as the SEC, West Virginia--who left the Big East to join the Big Twelve--has also seen a boost in ticket prices. Since last season, their home average ticket has gone from $70 to $175, an increase of 150%. WVU fans have demonstrated that they are much more interested in seeing matchups with Kansas State, Oklahoma, and Texas than the mill of Big East opponents like Syracuse and Rutgers. With a 5-1 record, WVU is holding their own and fans are paying up for what could be a BCS season. For the Aggies, it may be another year or two before we’re vying for an SEC title, but in the meantime, we’ll enjoy LSU on Saturday.
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