Vic Ellison is a 54-year-old Gophers football season ticket holder. He also has yet to attend a game at TCF Bank Stadium.
Ellison is one of many fans cashing in on a new stadium with fewer seats and increased demand.
Capacity for the University of Minnesota’s new on-campus stadium is 50,805, roughly 14,000 fewer seats than the football team’s previous home, the Metrodome. Combined with increased demand, ticket holders like Ellison are choosing profit over football on Saturdays.
Ellison has six season tickets in section 113. Paying $310 per ticket for the entire season, Ellison said he has already made nearly that entire cost back from the game on Oct. 3 against the University of Wisconsin alone. Ellison said he has already sold four of his six tickets for the Badgers game for $225 per ticket and is only considering actually attending a few of the Gophers games.
“I’ll probably go to two or three games,” Ellison said. “I haven’t gone to any games yet; I can sell [the tickets] for enough to cover my costs.”
Students are cashing in as well, offering up their seats for more than $100.
Art sophomore Aaron Schmoll has his student ticket listed on the popular Internet classifieds Web site Craigslist.org. Along with his roommate, Schmoll said he is seeking $200 for the pair or $125 for one ticket. With student season tickets costing $79 for the season, the opportunity to pay for the season by selling one ticket might be worth more to some people than watching the game in person.
“I have a nice TV that I can watch the game from at home with my friends,” Schmoll said. “I don’t have to fight the crowd, and I can make quite a bit of money selling the ticket.”
Selling tickets to the games are not the only way people are making a profit. Season parking passes are also providing many season ticket holders with an extra source of revenue.
Athletics Director Joel Maturi said that while he anticipated ticket scalping due to the smaller stadium, the selling of parking passes was not something he foresaw.
“I think probably a new phenomenon has been created in Gopher athletics,” Maturi said. “I think there’s a value to the parking, a value to the ticket. I have to be honest with you, I didn’t anticipate the parking [scalping], but that’s obviously what’s happening.”
Maturi said there isn’t much the University can do to discourage ticket holders such as Ellison and Schmoll from continuing the trend.
“It’s out of my control; I have a lot of challenges I have to be concerned about – this is not one of them,” Maturi said. “I don’t mean that in a disrespectful way. If somebody owns it, they can do what they wish with it. We just hope that we fill the stadium next week with Gopher fans.”
Whether or not the stadium remains filled with Gophers fans remains to be seen. For Schmoll, selling his student ticket to an archrival – specifically a Badger fan – remains a possibility for one simple reason: economics.
“A hundred dollars is a hundred dollars,” Schmoll said.
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