BYU football: Typically frugal Cougars fans gobble up high-priced tickets for Oklahoma game
If this keeps up, former BYU football coach LaVell Edwards is going to have to re-think his old joke about Cougars fans being among the most frugal in the country.
You know, the one about BYU fans showing up at bowl games with a $50 bill and a list of the Ten Commandments, and breaking neither.
BYU fans quickly pulled out their wallets to buy tickets for the Sept. 5 BYU-Oklahoma football game when it was announced in early January, and not just the cheapest ones going at $51.75 for a seat in the corner of the upper bowl at the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
They even surprised their own school officials, who initially requested 7,500 tickets and sold those so fast they ordered 2,000 more, which were also quickly gobbled up.
The most surprising aspect of the process was that more BYU fans requested the highest-priced club seats, at $153.75 a pop, than could be accomodated, BYU ticket manager Clark Livsey said.
"Depending on the situation, yeah, our fans will shell out some high-end money," Livsey said.
He noted that all fans who sought tickets through BYU got tickets, but acknowledged that many who wanted higher-priced seats had to settle for lower-priced tickets in seating areas that aren't as favorable.
"We had four prices of tickets ($51.75, $82.50, $102.75 and $153.75) and the sales were pretty evenly distributed among the four," he said.
So a couple thousand BYU fans were wiling to spend upwards of 150 bucks on tickets?
"That's right," Livsey said.
And even more wanted them.
Added BYU associate athletic director for communications, Duff Tittle: "We were surprised at the huge demand for the higher-priced tickets."
Livsey said reports that BYU raised ticket prices once the high demand was realized are inaccurate. Ticket prices were set by the Cowboys and never changed once the contracts were signed.
David Almodova, BYU's director of marketing and promotions, said organizers were originally going to have just two prices, $153.75 and $82.50, but both BYU and OU officials were alarmed at the high prices and negotiated for the four pricing tiers, especially those just over $50.
Livsey said $150 is more than the highest priced tickets at January's National Championship Game.
At any rate, the process ended this week for BYU and now those who want tickets will have to go through the Cowboys, who have said they will begin releasing tickets through ticketmaster.com later this month. Tickets can also be found through secondary sources such as stubhub.com.
Livsey defended BYU's apparent underestimation of its fanbase, saying, "We wanted to err on the side of not getting stuck with 5,000 tickets we couldn't sell. They weren't going to give the [original 7,500] tickets to us on consignment, basically."
A survey of BYU fans who purchased tickets showed there were some bumps along the way, although most complaints were from fans who wanted to buy the higher-priced tickets and weren't able to.
Others bemoaned the lack of communication and felt like they were in limbo too long regarding whether they would get tickets.
"I'm happy I got seats, but I'd rate BYU's handling of the tickets sales as about a C," said Gerry Sanders, a Cougar Club member in Houston, Texas, who says he asked for two $150 tickets and ended up getting two $80 tickets.
The uniqueness of the situation, the likes of which they had never dealt with before, did present some challenges, Livsey and Almodova said.
Of course, OU fans are expected to outnumber BYU fans by at least 3-to-1 at the season-opener for both teams. Oklahoma reportedly requested 30,000 tickets from the Cowboys, sold those quickly, and has asked for more.
Proceeds from ticket sales will go to the Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones, while OU's football program will be paid $2.5 million, according to copies of contracts obtained by the Dallas Morning New s through open records requests.
BYU will get about $1.5 million, Cougars athletic director Tom Holmoe acknowledged to DMN reporter Gary Jacobson when asked if BYU would get about the same amount it makes for a home game, which is around $1.5 million.
At Dallas Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas
Ticket Prices (If purchased through BYUtickets.com)
Reserved upper bowl corner » $51.75
Reserved middle bowl corner » $82.50
Club middle bowl middle » $102.75
Club lower bowl middle » $153.75