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Penn State Still Among Nation’s Most Expensive Student Football Tickets

It’s that time of year again, folks.

This week Penn State students are setting their alarms bright and early to make sure they don’t miss the 7 a.m. dash on Ticketmaster that is the student football ticket sale.

What’s more shocking than a mass of college students waking up so early in the middle of June? The fact that most of them are willing to pay the $239 fee without any questions asked.

Last year, we took an in-depth look at how student ticket prices compare to other universities around the country. This year’s research shows that not much has changed in terms of who makes up the top ten. Penn State remains firmly in the top five in the nation for the most expensive student tickets.

For the second year in a row, the price for a student to see the Nittany Lions play seven games at Beaver Stadium rose, as Athletics upped the price of tickets by $7 (or $1 per game). This increase, combined with Oregon’s $24 per game decrease, leaves the Nittany Lions with the fourth-most expensive student tickets in the country.

The two biggest shifts in the top ten since last year are Oregon completely dropping out thanks to its massive decrease in ticket prices, and USC claiming the number one spot. USC raised its per-game ticket price $8 from last year.

The full ranking of the most expensive student ticket prices in the country is as follows:

  1. USC ($41.67 per game)
  2. Ohio State ($36 per game)
  3. Notre Dame ($35 per game)
  4. Penn State ($34.14 per game)
  5. Oklahoma ($30 per game)
  6. Wisconsin ($27 per game)
  7. Michigan State ($26 per game)
  8. Michigan ($25 per game)
  9. Nebraska ($24 per game)
  10. Washington ($23 per game)

Here are how the prices of student season tickets at Big Ten schools compare:

  1. Ohio State ($36 per game)
  2. Penn State ($33.14 per game)
  3. Wisconsin ($27 per game)
  4. Michigan State ($26 per game)
  5. Michigan ($25 per game)
  6. Nebraska ($24 per game)
  7. Iowa ($21 per game)
  8. Indiana ($15 per game)
  9. Purdue ($14.14 per game)
  10. Rutgers ($14.14 per game)
  11. Minnesota ($12 per game)
  12. Illinois ($8.57 per game)
  13. Maryland and Northwestern (tuition/fee-subsidized)

The Big Ten still makes up the majority of the national top ten for student ticket prices, taking six spots in the ranking. Ohio State and Penn State remain to be the most expensive tickets in the conference. They are the only schools that charge more than $200 for season tickets.

Save for Maryland and Northwestern, the Big Ten is the most expensive conference in college football in terms of ticket prices. Other than those two universities, the average per-game price in the conference is $21.33.

In terms of performance, it’s clear that the highest ticket prices don’t quite represent the highest amount of success. The Big Ten, which is commonly referred to as the best conference in the game, hasn’t sent a team to the College Football Playoff in the past two seasons.

Alabama has played in the last four National Championship games and is widely considered a member of the top tier of college football. In 2018, students paid $10 per game to see the Crimson Tide play live.

A look at last year’s final AP Top 25 ranking also illustrates that some of the top teams in the nation aren’t charging nearly as much as many Big Ten squads, including Penn State. Clemson won the national championship, but offers several options for students to watch games, including a free game-by-game lottery system for 4,000 tickets.

Teams that finished No. 6-10 in the country, respectively, have much cheaper prices and can be seen here: LSU ($11 per game), Florida ($20 per game), Georgia ($8 per game), Texas (offers $175 tickets for all sports), and Washington State (offers $239 for all sports).

Another factor that should be considered is the sports pass option that many schools offer. Washington State allows students to see any sporting event on campus for the same price that Penn State charges for seven football games.

Oklahoma State follows the same process, charging $250 for students to get access to every home sporting event. In contrast, Penn State student season tickets for men’s basketball went for $35 in the 2018-19 season while men’s ice hockey were $165. This totals out to $439 for access to three sports team’s home games.

This isn’t all to say that student football tickets aren’t worth it and it’s stupid to pay the price. While the steep $239 fee is certainly a lot, it’s not going to stop the tickets from selling out in mere minutes during every early morning this week.

Beaver Stadium is obviously one of the best atmospheres in college football, and plenty of Penn State students don’t want to miss out on their opportunity to experience it. But, there are plenty of schools out there who offer a similar experience and, yes, win more than the Nittany Lions do who charge their students far less.

Will we ever see a day where season tickets are much cheaper? Not until fewer students are buying, which doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen anytime soon. The Nittany Lions have a loyal fan base that’s ready to do a whole lot to see its team play live, myself included.

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a senior majoring in digital and print journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, Peaky Blinders, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]

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