Sure, it’s great to be a fan of a college football team making an unprecedented leap to national prominence, but there’s always a downside. The success is fleeting, as you’ll quickly discover when all the senior linemen and that plucky quarterback graduate. But one thing that doesn’t go away, as Texas Tech fans are about to discover, is jacked up ticket prices.
(They’re just begging for counterfeiters now.)
According to the LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL, which is a sweet name for a newspaper, Texas Tech threw caution to the wind in this crippled economy and announced massive new ticket price increases. In addition to face value rising by 10-33% across the board, more sections are going to be contingent upon additional donations the the department. Standard practice in college athletics these days, yes, but also Mafia-esque all the same. Robert Anderson, a Lubbock resident and Red Raider fan, doesn’t think he’s had enough, but he does see it on the horizon:
“I knew that that section was too good not to be donor-based, so I knew this day was coming,” he said. “But I’m a little blown away by the $110 increase in the ticket. It had been incrementally going up, but $110? … I knew this day was coming. I’d been trying to picture what is the point at which I can’t do it anymore. I’m not sure that I’m there yet, but I’m getting close. Having a coach (Mike Leach) that thinks $2.(4) million a year isn’t enough kind of makes this hard to swallow; I’ll tell you that.”
The article also mentions that Anderson’s season tickets cost $330/seat now; that’s a far cry from the $99 he paid a decade ago for season tickets to football… and men’s basketball… and women’s basketball.
Yes, college athletics is a big business these days, but that doesn’t mean that it’s smart business to try to bleed a fanbase dry. Anderson’s only 41, but he’s only getting older; what about the growing number of young parents (many of whom are probably loyal alumni) who can’t afford tickets for themselves anymore, much less to take their kids to games? At some point, Tech will have to take steps to cultivate a younger fanbase; growing a sports bubble like this instead will only prove to be disastrous in the long run.