Our hypothesis for this ultra-scientific MZone study is as follows:
Even when paying over face value for the handful of big games in which supply and demand cause StubHub ticket prices to rise, it will still be cheaper - and probably substantially so - to buy one's tickets each week via StubHub
To recap the parameters of our study and what different seats in The Big House cost:
We're assuming two tickets to each game (together) and looking at different seat locations, all of which now require a "preferred seat donations" (aka PSDs). For those not familiar with PSDs, Michigan's website describes them as follows:
The Victors Club Preferred Seat Donation is a part of University of Michigan Athletics overall annual giving program. Currently, three sports have some portion of the season tickets requiring a Preferred Seat Donation -- Football, Men's Basketball Courtside Seats, and Ice Hockey Club Seats. (Note: Courtside and Hockey Club Seats are sold out. You may contact the Victors Club Office to learn more about future availability.)
The color-coded diagram indicates the football preferred seating areas of Michigan Stadium. There are four different annual donation requirements -- Victors ($500 per seat), Valiant ($375 per seat), Maize ($250 per seat) and Blue ($125 per seat). The End Zone donation requirement ($50 per seat) applies to any new season tickets holders in 2005 and beyond.
Cost to Purchase U-M Season Tickets in 2012
Michigan only has 6 homes games this season due to the opener in Dallas against Alabama. And of those six games, all of them have a face value of $75 each - except the MSU game which is $95 per ticket. Thus, one's "face value" ticket cost would be $470 per ticket. But...
The Athletic Department cuts one a break and charges only $390 for season tickets, which works out to $65 per ticket (it's impossible to know how/if they charge differently for the "big" games so we'll have to make it an even $65 each).
Now tack on your "donation" of $50-$500 per seat and your actual cost of one season ticket is $440 in the endzone, $515 in the "Blue" section, $640 in the "Maize" section, $765 in the "Valiant" section and $890 in the "Victors" section. Now double that for a pair of tickets.
If anything is going to blow our above hypothesis out of the water, it's this week's game vs Michigan State: the only real "hot ticket" on the entire 2012 U-M home schedule. True, MSU isn't doing as well as expected, but that has never seemed to matter in the past when it comes to ticket demand and the "want to be there" factor for this heated rivalry. What will that to ticket prices on StubHub? Let's find out.
Season Ticket Price - Endzone Seats:
You, dear season ticket holder, have two seats in the endzone which cost $130 plus $100 for your PSD divided by 6 ($16.67) for a grand total of $146.67.
StubHub Price - Endzone Seats:
As of late Wednesday night/Thursday morning, there are some 1,500+ seats left for sale on StubHub. Last week as we did this post for the Illinois game, we found endzone seats for $147 each. Currently, we found two in Section 5, Row 79 for $135 each, a total of $270. But while there is no PSD on StubHub, there is an electronic delivery charge of $4.95 and a service charge of $27.
Season Ticket Endzone Guy - $146.67
StubHub Dude - $301.95
Winner: Dave Brandon's bitch by $155.28
Now suppose you have/want better seats. Okay...
Season Ticket Price - Maize Section:
Two tickets in sideline sections 3, 4, 20, 21, 42 or 44 cost you the same $130 as Endzone Guy. But you also had to shell out $500 divided by 6 ($83.33) for a grand total of $213.33 for your chance to watch this year's homecoming game.
StubHub Price - Maize Section:
Found two for in Section 4 for $175 each (lowest pair by $20). Same $4.95 "electronic delivery charge" (aka email) and a service fee of $35 (1) for a total of $389.95.
Maize Section Total:
Season Ticket Maize Guy - $213.33
StubHub Dude - $389.95
Winner: Season Ticket Maize Guy by $176.62
Now let's live large...
Season Ticket Price - Victors Section
Two tickets in Section 1, right on the 50, only cost you $65 each as part of your season tix. But $1,000 divided by 6 tacks on another $166.67 (yikes!).
StubHub Price - Victors Section Price:
In case you're wondering, last week the cheapest pair we could find in the Victor's section came out to $285 each. So did the prices in the last week go up or down? Well...
Tonight I found two tix in Section 1, Row 82 for $206 each (plus $4.95, plus a are-you-fucking-kidding-me service charge of 41.20).
Victors Section Total:
Season Ticket Victors Guy - $296.67
StubHub Dude - $458.15
Winner: Victor Season Ticket Guy by $161.48
Endzone Seats on StubHub:
UMass - Saved $64.72
Illinois - Saved $31.72
MSU - In the red $155.28
Total Endzone StubHub Savings/Loss So Far - Loss of $58.84
Maize Seats on StubHub:
UMass - Saved $87.38
Illinois - Saved $43.38
MSU - In the red $176.62
Total Maize Section Savings/Loss So Far - Loss of $45.86
Victors Seats on StubHub:
UMass - Saved $165.24
Illinois - Saved $98.12
MSU - In the red $161.48
Total Victors Section Savings/Loss So Far - Savings of $101.88
Well, well, well. Didn't see that coming.
Lesson for Mr. 50 Yard Line Guy? There's a reason you're a heart surgeon and not a ticket scalper.
* We didn't start this series until after the Air Force game and thus don't have exact figures, but a cursory check before the game as we were thinking about a post topic like this revealed something between the UMass and Illinois numbers. We'll factor those in at the end of the season.