Rivalry Week: Ranking of College Football Rivalries Based on Ticket Price
Rivalry Week is one of the most exciting weeks in college football. Many of the biggest college football rivalries date back to almost 100 years ago and for these match-ups there is more on the line than any other game. Rivalry trophies, bragging rights and seasons are on the line. Winning against a major rival and reclaiming a rivalry trophy can bring light to a mediocre season. It would be the highlight of the season to knock a rival out of running for the conference title or to ruin their chances to play in a major bowl game.
It is expected that average ticket prices will be higher for rivalry games than for the rest of the season. The interesting thing to note is that on the secondary market many of the rivalry games are almost twice as expensive than the rest of the games the team plays during the season. This can be interpreted as fans would rather go see their team play a big rivalry game than go see two other games during the season.
Top Ten College Football Rivalries Based on Rivalry Week Ticket Prices
#1 Auburn Tigers @ Alabama Crimson Tide – The Iron Bowl has long been considered one of the biggest rivalries in college football. The Alabama Crimson Tide has won the previous two outings and hold a slight advantage over Auburn in the series with a record of 40-33-1. The fact that #2 Auburn is competing for this years BCS National Championship and #11 Alabama is the reigning BCS National Champion adds to the buzz and the ticket prices for the Iron Bowl this year. As of 11/22/10, the average price of a ticket to see The Crimson Tide take on The Tigers in Tuscaloosa tops the list at $379.83 per ticket.
#2 Michigan Wolverines @ Ohio State Buckeyes – The Michigan – Ohio State rivalry is one of the most historic in all of sports dating back to 1897. This will be the 107th meeting of the two Universities with Michigan leading the overall series 57-43-6. This match-up has a history of being ultra competitive with the home team often winning the game, however OSU currently has a 6 game winning streak against the Wolverines. Although this rivalry is on a bit of a downswing as Michigan has been less competitive in recent years, the rivalry still ranks #2 in average price per ticket at $358.50.
#3 Oklahoma Sooners @ Oklahoma State Cowboys – This has been a very one sided rivalry with Oklahoma dominating the series 81-15-7. Winner of this game not only wins bragging rights for the state of Oklahoma but also the Bedlam Bell. Average ticket prices for this game are $274.42; this is much higher than usual as both teams are ranked in the top 25. *ESPN’s College GameDay will be at Oklahoma State this week.
#4 South Carolina Gamecocks @ Clemson Tigers – These bitter rivals are separated by only 132 miles and battle each year for both bragging rights and The Hardee’s Trophy. The Clemson Tigers lead the overall series with a record of 65-38-4, with the first meeting dating back to 1896. The Battle of the Palmetto State comes in at #4 with an average price per ticket of $186.57.
#5 Texas A&M Aggies @ Texas Longhorns – This rivalry dates back to 1894 and the Longhorns have a solid lead in the overall series with a record of 75-36. The Lone Star Showdown is an interesting match-up this year as there is a bit of a role-reversal. The Longhorns need this win to salvage the season and go to 6-6 which is disappointing considering just last year they were playing Alabama for the BCS National Championship. Texas A&M, ranked #17 in the BCS, comes in to this match-up as the favorite and is playing for a chance to share the Big 12 South title. The average price of a ticket to the Lone Star Showdown is $177.04. It is worth noting that this game is being played on Thanksgiving which probably boosted ticket prices a fair amount.
#6 LSU Tigers @ Arkansas Razorbacks – The Battle for the Golden Boot comes in at #6 in the rivalry rankings with an average ticket price of $172.40. This rivalry gained significance in 1992 when Arkansas joined the SEC. LSU leads the overall series with a record of 34-19-2. This game can have a major impact in the BCS standings for both teams which is likely bringing up the average ticket price for this game as it is not classically considered of as a top rivalry.
#7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish @ USC Trojans – The Trojans – Fighting Irish game is not only a game for bragging right but for ownership of the Jeweled Shillelagh. Notre Dame leads the overall series with a record of 42-33-5 over USC but The Trojans have been catching up in recent years as The Fighting Irish have not won the Jeweled Shillelagh since 2001. These teams have a strong history of being top college football programs but due to Notre Dame not playing up to potential in recent years and USC recently running into issues with the NCAA, ticket prices for this rivalry are on a downswing at $158.83.
#8 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets @ Georgia Bulldogs – The Georgia Tech – Georgia rivalry has one of the best nicknames, “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate”. This rivalry started in 1893 and Georgia leads the series with a record of 60-39-5. Average ticket prices for this game are $152.68.
#9 BYU Cougars @ Utah Utes – Utah leads The Holy War Series with a record of 53-34-4 although the teams have split the last 10. Aside from the fact that this series fates back to 1896, religion and proximity play a large factor in this rivalry as the two schools have differing ideologies and are located fairly close to one another. The average price of a ticket to watch BYU and Utah battle it out in the Holy War is $137.75.
#10 Florida Gators @ Florida State Seminoles – The Florida – Florida State rivalry dates back to 1958 and Florida leads the series with a record of 33-19-2. In the 1990s this rivalry game always had serious National Championship implications however, in recent years Florida State has been less competitive and the rivalry is on a downswing with ticket prices to this event averaging $133.09.