Penn State’s athletic department announced a new variable system for football tickets today; in other words, ticket prices for primetime opponents will increase, while ticket prices for lesser opponents will decrease.
Fans will be able to buy single game tickets for Akron and UMass for as low as $40, but now the cheapest ticket for Ohio State is $100. Northwestern and Michigan State will also see a bump into the top tier, with the cheapest tickets coming in at $80. Last season, the cheapest available ticket for every game was $70, with the max set at $140.
Here’s the new pricing chart:
“We have been listening to our fans and as a result will extend a variable pricing structure for football for the first time this season,” said Athletics Director Dave Joyner in a statement. “This structure provides more pricing choices to accommodate rising travel costs and tightening family budgets, while also ensuring that our season ticket holders are receiving a great value for their loyalty and support.”
The new plan does have some obvious benefits. Fans will be able to see four of the seven games (Akron, UMass, Maryland, Temple) for cheaper than last season. However, it will cost more to see the best opponents (Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State).
Truth be told, this plan will probably help James Franklin fulfill his promise to sell out every game next season. Fans can see the bad teams for less, and are probably willing to pay more for the bigger opponents anyway. Several other programs (including Ohio State) use variable plans — in fact, I’m surprised it took so long for Penn State to go this route.
“How many does the stadium hold?” Franklin asked at his introductory press conference. “[There will be] 107,000 [fans]every single game from here on out. That stadium will be sold out from here on out.”
It’s also worth noting that season ticket holders will not be impacted by the change. Beaver Stadium averaged 96,587 fans in 2013, good enough for fifth nationally, but well short of its 109,000+ capacity. Time will tell if this new structure will help fill the seats for teams like Akron and UMass once again.