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HomeSportsUT
Published: Friday, 7/24/2009

UT-OSU tickets open to all Earlier $100 fee angers some fans

BY ZACH SILKA
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Lee Bailey wasn't among the many fans who made a $100 donation to the University of Toledo athletic department in order to purchase advance tickets for the Rockets' football game against Ohio State at Cleveland Browns Stadium on Sept. 19.

Now that UT has decided to open up ticket sales to the general public, the Columbus resident still won't be making the trek to Toledo to buy tickets but feels for his fellow Ohio State fans who have.

"The fans who paid $100 for the right to buy tickets have been ripped off!" Bailey wrote in a letter to The Blade. "Those who were coerced into donating to the UT fund should have their money returned, upon request."

Under the agreement between the two schools, Ohio State was allotted 12,500 tickets for the game, while UT retained the remaining 58,000 seats. After offering them first to its season-ticket holders and donors, UT will open the remaining 6,500 tickets for purchase to the general public at 9 a.m. Monday at its ticket office.

"I see it as a good business move for UT," said Andy Scott, a UT student and lifelong OSU fan.

"It's UT's home game, so the Buckeye fans should be paying the premium for them."

UT associate athletic director for media relations Paul Helgren said yesterday afternoon the ticket office has received only one complaint about allowing fans to buy tickets without a $100 minimum donation.

"This particular guy was an OSU fan, and once the ticket manager explained that he was getting better seats than the ones available on Monday, he didn't have a problem with it anymore," Helgren said. "If somebody is really unhappy about it, we'll give them their $100 back. But then they lose their priority. Instead of having their priority tickets mailed to them [in early August], they have to come [on Monday] and hope that they can get one of the 6,500 upper endzone seats."

Tickets, which are $45 and $55, will be available for purchase at the UT ticket office only. No phone or online orders will be accepted. There is no limit on how many tickets you can buy.

Current and enrolled incoming UT students may purchase two tickets at $25 and additional tickets at full price.

"They've done everything they can to get students and alumni and fans involved, so now why not open it up to everybody else?" said Scott, who has purchased 21 tickets for the game and said he may still buy more.

UT has taken 242 new donation orders from people wanting to buy tickets to the game, and orders have ranged in size from one to 100 tickets, Helgren said.

"The guy that paid $100 to buy 100 tickets, his cost per ticket for the priority seating was $1," Helgren said. "You have something that is unique - a 'home' game against Ohio State, so to speak - and it has value, so you want to take care of the people that have been loyal to you, which is our season-ticket holders and donors. That's your first priority. Ohio State does the same thing. I think we were very fair about it."

In fact, access to the Buckeyes' ticket allotment for road games requires a $2,500 membership into the Big Ten Champions level of the Buckeye Club.

Ohio State ticket office manager Bill Jones told the Columbus Dispatch he believes UT is being "singled out unfairly."

"It's unfortunate, because if someone was talking about Oklahoma or Florida doing this, nobody would think twice about it," Jones said.

Helgren said UT expects to gross approximately

$4 million on the game once all tickets are sold.

Last year, UT's total football revenues were reported to be $4.4 million.

"It's way more than we've ever made on a single home football game by a lot," Helgren said. "It's a good deal. I think everybody wins."

Contact Zach Silka at:

zsilka@theblade.com.



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