Georgia Tech’s decision to offer a limited supply of Independence Bowl tickets for $14 is an investment in the future, according to athletics director Dan Radakovich.
Bowl tickets are usually much more expensive. Tickets to last year’s Orange Bowl, for example, cost $125. Tickets to the 2008 Chick-fil-A Bowl were between $60-70. Tech had an allotment of 17,500 for the game in the Georgia Dome. The game sold out.
Tech hopes that by offering the tickets at the special rate, it will not only put people in Shreveport, La., where the bowl will be played on Dec. 27, but it will enhance the status of the fanbase.
“To be there in Shreveport, that’s what’s going to be able to sell Georgia Tech for years upcoming within the ACC in the bowl pecking order,” Radakovich said. “Not to disparage other teams, but we don’t have that far to go to be recognized within our conference as a great traveling team. It’s manageable, we can do that.”
As of Wednesday morning, more than 2,200 of the tickets have been sold. The $14 allotment is 5,000 and lasts until Sunday. Tech’s total ticket allotment is 10,000. Tech is responsible for paying for any unsold tickets up to 6,000. The ACC will pay for any remaining tickets after 8,000 are sold. There’s a formula that covers remaining tickets between 6,000-8,000 sold. Radakovich said the school doesn’t make a profit on ticket sales to bowls, even when no discounts are applied.
As a comparison, Clemson has sold 5,700 tickets to the Meineke Car Care Bowl in nearby Charlotte. Tickets are $50 for students and $75 for others. North Carolina didn’t have a sales figure yet for the Music City Bowl. Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen has made a public plea for fans to buy tickets to the Military Bowl in nearby Washington D.C. Despite having an 8-4 record, the Terrapins were passed over for the Champs Sports Bowl, which had the fourth pick of ACC teams, because it was feared they wouldn’t bring many fans.
David Thompson, a Tech fan living in Little Rock, Ark., said he had toyed with the idea of buying tickets for his dad (an 1973 alum) and brother, but ruled out the possibility because of the tough economic times. When the $14 ticket price was announced, he changed his mind and purchased three.
The discount idea came together Sunday afternoon after Radakovich met with officials from the bowl. He said they not only hoped that ticket sales would be brisk, but that they would be used. They wanted to see Tech fans in Louisiana at the hotels, restaurants and other attractions.
He met with other officials within the athletics association and they decided that the potential punitive price of tickets was one obstacle they could remove for those who considering attending. The price was chosen as a way to honor Tech’s bowl streak, which is now at 14 consecutive games.
Radakovich said he hopes to see at least 5,000 Tech fans at the game. Georgia sold approximately 7,000 tickets the 2009 Independence Bowl, while Tech sold approximately 10,000 to the ACC championship game and 10,000 more to the Orange Bowl. He pointed out that the tickets are sideline seats and that the timing of the game is good for families who wish to travel because the game is the week after the Christmas holiday when most families are on vacation. Shreveport is a nine-hour drive from Atlanta.
“It was important for us to try something different,” Radakovich said. “Some have worked some haven’t worked. We want to make sure that we continue to try to do things to try and entice our fans to jump on the bandwagon.”
– Doug Roberson, AJC