Tired of scalpers bleeding Final Four fans dry with escalated ticket prices, the NCAA is doing something about it - by scalping the seats themselves.
The LOS ANGELES TIMES reports that the athletic organization has arranged deals with online ticket resellers “in a bid to share in the wealth being created as Final Four tickets change hands in the secondary market.” And it’s not just seats that they’re selling.
Fans now can connect with resellers on an NCAA-approved website and book upscale NCAA travel packages that include Final Four tickets, hotel rooms and admission to exclusive parties. The more adventurous can even participate in a Wall Street-style market that deals in options for hard-to-get tickets.
Makes sense the NCAA would get in on this, since they’re so strapped for cash. They only have $327 million in net assets, and the March Madness TV deal with CBS will bring in a just paltry $3.8 billion over the next five years. Poor guys.
But some critics don’t feel so generous to support the NCAA’s quest for more money:
“When you go to these (online ticketing) websites, you see the professional sports listed right next to college sports,” said Ellen Staurowsky, a professor who teaches sports management classes at Ithaca College in New York. “The NCAA says it adheres strongly to its amateur ideal, but it seems to be operating precisely, exactly the same way that the major professional sports enterprises are.”
Education does come at a price, you know. How else can State U. afford to build $12 million practice facilities and arena luxury boxes for the big-heeled boosters (and new classrooms & research labs, if there’s enough left over)?