When Nebraska traveled to Seattle earlier this year to face Washington, over 20,000 faithful fans went with them to witness the Huskers 56-21 obliteration of the Huskies. The re-match between the two in next weeks Holiday Bowl in San Diego isn’t pulling that many fans out of their winter homes.
Nebraska so far has sold less than half of their 11,000 ticket allotment for the contest.
Having already played Washington once, and with the Huskies coming to Lincoln in 2011, Nebraska fans are not excited about the Holiday Bowl.
With the glut of 35 bowl games this year, Nebraska has plenty of company when it comes to teams having problems selling tickets.
• West Virginia has sold less than half of its 11,000 ticket allotment for the Champs Sports Bowl
• Iowa has sold less than 6,000 tickets to its game with its game against Missouri in the Insight Bowl
• Tulsa has sold less than 1,000 tickets to the Hawaii Bowl
• Fresno State has sold less than 500 tickets to the Humanitarian Bowl
The BCS Bowls are not immune to the problem. Each team is required to purchase at least 17,500 tickets while also filling up hotel rooms at the site. Connecticut, facing Oklahoma out in Arizona in the Fiesta Bowl has so far only coaxed 5,000 fans into spending a week out of the frozen Northeast and in the Land of the Sun.
One reason for the lack of sales is that the team’s selection of tickets is usually lousy, as the bowl organizations save the better seat selections for themselves. Fans are finding better seats at cheaper prices on the secondary market.
This year’s Orange Bowl matchup between Virginia Tech and Stanford has both teams scrambling to try and sell their allotment so they don’t have to eat the ticket price themselves. Tickets from the teams range from $65 to $195, but a quick look at online ticket brokers show some tickets available for half as much as the schools are charging.
Virginia Tech has been down this road before and it is one paved in red. In 2009, the Hokies had to eat more than $1.5 million in unsold tickets to the Orange Bowl – and they could face that kind of hit again this year.
Even the elite of college football have had trouble getting rid of bowl tickets in recent years.
Ohio State failed to sell over 3,000 of its ticket allotment to the 2009 Fiesta Bowl, costing the school almost $1 million.
For the first time in years, Ohio State put bowl tickets up for sale to the general public. The Buckeyes are playing Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl, and there will be shouts of "Woo Pig Sooie" scattered throughout the Ohio State seating sections.
But again, it is at the lower end of this 35-game series of Bowls where tickets are a hard sell. Florida International faces Toledo in the Little Caesars Bowl the day after Christmas. So far FIU has been able to persuade only a few hundred of its fans in Miami to spend the Christmas Holiday in beautiful downtown Detroit.