Stubhub Out Of BCS Tix; Politicians Get AU Seats

As of Wednesday afternoon, Monday’s BCS National Championship Game between Oregon and Auburn was online ticket broker’s best-selling event in history, with the average ticket price around $1,000.

Auburn fan

(Barn door closed for Auburn fans, officially-licensed inflatables)

As of Wednesday night, the site had run out of the necessary tickets, which were never made available to the general public at face value, to continue to satisfy customer demand.

StubHub spokesperson Joellen Ferrer issued the following statement to Darren Rovell of CNBC:

As a result of the high demand and scarcity of BCS National Championship Game tickets, we have been unable to fulfill some customers’ orders. Unfortunately, one of our larger sellers for this event could not secure enough tickets to fulfill all of their confirmed sales, which has caused a trickle-down effect. We have purchased as many tickets as are available to help fill customers’ orders, however we are still short of tickets due to the incredibly high demand for this game.

Stubhub, online since 2000, has a policy that if a customer does not receive the tickets he or she purchased on the website, the company will provide that person with a similar ticket.

So the problem with the BCS game was that when a Stubhub customer got stiffed after buying a ticket on the site, the company did not have access to ticket inventory to make the jilted individual whole.

Rovell reports that the company now is in the process of trying to satisfy customers who previously purchased seats but did not receive them:

… the company is offering more than double the purchase price for anyone who bought their tickets on StubHub originally, has them in hand or was supposed to pick them up at the stadium, and is willing to sell.

By doing this, the company believes everyone who bought tickets on the Web site will be guaranteed comparable seats or the company will give them more than their full refund back, which will be equal to double what they paid, plus the commission fees and the shipping.

Face value for most of the game tickets is between $250-to-$300 and the BIRMINGHAM NEWS reported today that, “Auburn received an allotment of only 15,900 tickets for the SEC game, and under the Auburn Athletic Department guidelines, preference was given to suite holders, scholarship donors and Tigers Unlimited Foundation donors who contributed $10,000 or more.

Auburn University employees could also attempt to order tickets, with availability, “based on a priority system.” Meanwhile students “were relegated to a lottery drawing.

As you might expect, many longtime Auburn season ticket holders and donors who have been frozen out of the school’s distribution process are irate - especially considering the scarcity and outrageous price of tickets available online.

Can’t get any worse for countless thousands of Auburn fans, right?

Actually, some might consider Auburn stiffing fans in favor of the school’s Board of Trustees offering up BCS tickets as political bribes to be just as bad, if not worse.

Bob Lowry of the HUNTSVILLE (AL) TIMES today that detailed how dozens of Alabama politicians got special access to BCS Championship seats from Auburn (see Board of Trustees) despite the Alabama State Legislature recently banning “the long-standing practice of Auburn and the University of Alabama providing free tickets to the Iron Bowl to legislators and state officials.

Lowry reported today that Auburn has confirmed that 23 Republicans and three Democrats in the Alabama legislature were essentially invited to buy tickets from Auburn’s BCS game allotment at face value.

As many as an additional 15 legislators and state officials were also “permitted” to buy tickets at face value after inquiring about availability.

That doesn’t account for Alabama Governor Bob Riley. Lowry reported:

Auburn spokesman Mike Clardy said Gov. Bob Riley, as president of the Auburn board of trustees, was sent a form to purchase tickets to the SEC game through the Auburn Athletic Department.

But Clardy said Wednesday he didn’t have a list of the names those who purchased BCS tickets because the school’s office of governmental affairs didn’t handle the ticket deliveries, and the tickets would be picked up at the game’s site in Glendale, Ariz.

Let me translate that for you: As governor, Riley is automatically appointed president of the Auburn board of trustees (ex officio) but in reality has very little to do with the actual, day-to-day machinations of the board’s business. But the appointment gives Riley cover to not only acquire as many BCS seats as he pleases, it also allows for those purchases to remain anonymous.

What’s really going on here isn’t necessarily a case of politicians gone wild, but Auburn rewarding those who do the school’s bidding in state government - while also buying future political influence. (See bribes.)

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