LINCOLN — A hot ticket, it's not.
Just over half of the 15,000 Big Ten championship tickets allotted to Husker athletics were sold by an 11 a.m. deadline Wednesday. Approximately 7,200 were to be returned to Ticketmaster, the primary vendor for Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium, where the championship game begins at 7:17 p.m. Saturday.
Sluggish sales don't mean that the stadium will be half empty. Savvy fans realize that it's a buyer's market — and they can likely get better seats at a better price by turning to ticket brokers.
Chad Carr, president of Omaha-based ticket broker Ticket Express, said fans can find bargains for most seats, though demand is stronger for the best seats in the stadium. Tickets that sell for $50 to $175 face value are going for $39 up to $215 for the best seats.
Carr, whose company buys and sells tickets on the secondary market, said he expects only to break even on Saturday's game.
Another broker, Red Zone Tickets President Brett Franksmann, said he may have to sell some of his tickets for as little as $20 each.
“It's really bad,” he said. “It's almost like pick your seat, pick your price.”
Some fans say they'd rather go to Pasadena on Jan. 1 than Indianapolis on Dec. 1. They can only make one trip, and they're betting Nebraska will win Saturday and head to the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day. Even if Nebraska doesn't win the conference championship game, some fans are more interested in traveling to a warm climate for whatever bowl the Huskers play in.
Carr said fans don't yet feel as emotionally invested in playing a Big Ten game — even a championship game — against Wisconsin as they used to be about facing Texas or Oklahoma in the Big 12.
Franksmann gambled and bought up a bunch of tickets in the summer, when he thought the Big Ten game was going to be big. Now he's scrambling to cut his losses.
Trouble is, he said, the Indianapolis game doesn't have national championship implications or even a long-standing rivalry to sell it.
If only undefeated Ohio State weren't on NCAA probation and could be a postseason opponent — that would be a game that would sell some tickets, he said.
Personally, Franksmann said, he would rather go to Pasadena to experience the Rose Bowl. In fact, he has already booked that trip for his family.
Although Carr is a big fan and Cornhusker football helped build his business, Carr said he doesn't know if he will attend Saturday's game. He said he and his employees need to be ready for an onslaught of Rose Bowl ticket orders as the clock winds down.
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