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.
Just a note that the ticket prices for this article were gathered on StubHub late Thursday night (technically Friday morning) before the game..
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 Thursday night (technically Friday morning), there are just over 1,200 seats left for sale on StubHub. We found two in Endzone Section 8, Row 96 for $45/each. Now take on $4.95 for the StubHub "electronic delivery charge" (read: a fancy way to charge you for an email) and $9 for StubHub's service fee.
Season Ticket Endzone Guy - $146.67
StubHub Dude - $103.95
Winner: Mr. StubHub - $42.72
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 Michigan take on the Wildcats.
StubHub Price - Maize Section:
Found two in Section 3 for $71 each. Same $4.95 "electronic delivery charge" and a service fee of $14.20 for a total of $161.15.
Maize Section Total:
Season Ticket Maize Guy - $213.33
StubHub Dude - $161.15
Winner: Guy Giving Dave Brandon The Finger by$52.18
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:
I found two tix in Section 2, Row 81 for $79 each (plus $4.95, plus a service charge of 15.80).
Victors Section Total:
Season Ticket Victors Guy - $296.67
StubHub Dude - $178.75
Winner: NOT Season Ticket Guy by $117.92
Endzone Seats on StubHub:
UMass - Saved $64.72
Illinois - Saved $31.72
MSU - In the red $155.28
Northwestern - Saved $42.72
Total Endzone StubHub Savings/Loss So Far - Loss of $16.12 *
Maize Seats on StubHub:
UMass - Saved $87.38
Illinois - Saved $43.38
MSU - In the red $176.62
Northwestern - Saved $52.18
Total Maize Section Savings/Loss So Far - Savings of $6.32 *
Victors Seats on StubHub:
UMass - Saved $165.24
Illinois - Saved $98.12
MSU - In the red $161.48
Northwestern - $117.92
Total Victors Section Savings/Loss So Far - Savings of $219.80 *
Very interesting that - so far this season (with only one marquee home game) - the better seats you want to sit in, the more you save going the StubHub route.
* 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.