It’s not that Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. – a venue located about 2,000 miles from both Clemson and Alabama – will be empty as the two schools face off for the title for the third times since January 2016. Those seats should be filled by thousands of fans who took advantage of record-low College Football Playoff National Championship game prices.
“This is s a marquee event that typically isn’t this affordable,” a StubHub spokesperson Adam Budelli told USA TODAY Sports. “It’s a great opportunity for Bay Area residents to watch a championship game.”
Those residents, however, aren’t known for supporting college athletics at any of the three area FBS schools (Stanford, California and San Jose State), a factor that has also kept prices down.
“This is not a college town,” said Stuart Kesselman, who runs the San Francisco-based brokerage Mr. Ticket. “Even when Stanford was in the Final Four (in 1998), most people around here couldn’t name a single player on the team.”
The average ticket price on StubHub as of Sunday afternoon was $509, making it the least-expensive college football championship since the four-team playoff debuted for the 2014 season.
The prior low was when Alabama and Clemson, which also took place out west (University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona) three years ago. The average ticket price for that game on StubHub was $593.
The cheapest seats on secondary market have climbed slightly from lows of approximately $130 late last week. The least-expensive tickets were going for about $175 (with fees) on popular secondary ticket market sites on Sunday.
The get-in price is actually about $50 less than the NHL All-Star Game that takes place a few miles away at SAP Center on Jan. 26.
Although the game is technically sold out, there were about 7,000 seats still available on the secondary market about 24 hours before kickoff. The inventory on SeatGeek, another top ticket reseller, is triple the same point for last year’s title game between Georgia and Alabama.
The average price for that 2017 title game on SeatGeek went for $2,249 – nearly six times the price for the average seat for Monday’s contest.
“Last year’s game in Atlanta was the perfect storm,” SeatGeek spokesperson Chris Leyden told USA TODAY Sports. “It’s really a tough comparison. Last year’s game had more demand for a college football game than we’ve ever seen.”
Leyden said prices would likely dip in the hours leading up to kickoff if the inventory remains in the thousands. Even then, there’s still a good chance many of those seats will go unsold.
That would lead to two outcomes: the seats will go unused or the owners of those seats will give them away/use the tickets themselves.
Kesselman said the game’s demand is strong in one aspect: parking. His company has sold several prime parking passes for about $500.
“Apparently, people don’t want to walk a mile to the game,” Kesselman quipped.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Thousands of tickets available for College Football Playoff title game between Alabama, Clemson