Ticket prices for college football games make it hard to go

I have attended the Oklahoma-Texas game in Dallas at least 20 times but only once in the last 15 years. And that last visit was when my son Brian and I had press credentials. I was in the press box at the Cotton Bowl and he was on the sideline, shooting photos.

It’s quite a spectacle. The game is in the historic Cotton Bowl right in the middle of the Texas State Fair (which seems much bigger than the Tulsa State Fair).

I think fewer and few Sooner fans can afford a weekend in Dallas to see the game.

The game usually kicks off at 11 a.m. so you have to go down the night before. It’s a good four hour drive to Dallas and you would have to leave Tulsa at about 4 a.m. to get to Dallas at 8 a.m. Then it takes from one to two hours to get to the Cotton Bowl and get parked.

You have to get a hotel room. If you plan ahead, you can get a nice room in Downtown Dallas and spend $150-$200. If you plan to stay in Dallas on Saturday night, that could cost you upwards of $400.

Then there is the price of tickets to the game. In September, the cheapest ticket on Stubhub.com was $219. That is for row 17 in the highest part of the endzone. A parking pass was $28. A ticket at the 50-yard-line was $696. A 40-yard-line seat in section 405 was $1,199.

(On Monday, there were some tickets for $135 because OU and Texas have both lost two games and Texas is unranked.)

Ticketcity.com has similar pricing but the top priced ticket is $944 (for a seat in the club section in the press box area). Vividseats.com has tickets as cheap as $209 and as high as $827.

A family of four in the cheap endzone seats would pay about $900. High up at the 50 yard line, that same foursome would shell out $2,800 and the premium seats would cost nearly $5,000 for a family of four.

The game is sold out. Texas gets half of the tickets and Oklahoma gets half. You have to be a season ticket holder or a big donor to get a chance at OU-Texas tickets. There are seven levels of donations ($100 to $10,000 plus) that increase your chances of obtaining seats at that game. There is a complicated formula on who gets the tickets because there is such a high demand.

I have no idea how much the face value of the tickets are. I went to the game each year for the three years I was at OU and I remember the tickets were fairly cheap for students. They had a lottery for Texas tickets back then and one year I missed the lottery but I bought a student ticket from a friend.

So, if you factor in the cheapest tickets ($900), two hotel rooms for two nights ($400), gas and tolls ($60), parking $30, State Fair tickets ($99) and eating out for five meals ($200), that’s $1,669 or $415 each to see a ball game.

Doesn’t it make more sense to stay home and use that $1,700 to buy a really nice new TV? You can watch the game on your new smart TV and then after the game, you still have a new TV.

Another problem with going to that game is that it is a real bummer when OU loses. The Texas fans are brutal. And you have to wade through the 100,000 Texas fairgoers to get to your car and then you have to go eat at a restaurant that probably has several Longhorn fans.

This kind of stuff was fun when I was 25 years old and tickets (and hotels) were cheap. Now, it seems more and more like a waste of time and money.

Don’t get me wrong. I am still passionate about OU winning. It’s just that I could take my wife on a seven-day ocean cruise out of Galveston for less than $1,700. I could buy a two or three really nice suits for that amount. I could have a great weekend in Branson for a lot less than that.

The prices are so high because of demand. This game represents a long history of competition between two states. And there are wealthy people in both states that want to watch that game in person. Shoot, the governors of Oklahoma and Texas usually make a bet on the game.

There are only so many seats. High demand with limited inventory means higher prices. And I do think it is affordable for some students to go to the game, which is how it should be.

On Saturday, I will fix myself a nice lunch. My wife will prepare some snacks for the game. And I will sit back in my Lazy-Boy recliner and watch the game.

And afterwards I will take great satisfaction in saving at least $1,700.