The great Virginia Tech ticket watch has begun.
After the Hokies were chosen for the Sugar Bowl thanks in large part to their fans' history of traveling in droves to New Orleans, a lot of attention will be paid to their ticket sales for the game. So far, it's tough to tell according to Andy Bitter of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot/Roanoke Times:
As of Tuesday afternoon, Virginia Tech had sold just short of 5,000 tickets for the Sugar Bowl against Michigan. The school was given an allotment of 17,000, although only donors and season-ticket holders have been able to purchase them so far.
Student tickets went on sale Tuesday while the general public will get their chance to buy them starting Monday.
Hokie fans absolutely have to sell out of their allotment of tickets for this game. The selection of Virginia Tech over Boise State, Kansas State and others was a controversial one for the Sugar Bowl committee and one that immediately came under fire from the national media. That criticism will grow louder if ticket sales are slow.
The last two BCS appearances have been a disaster in terms of ticket sales for the Hokies. In 2008, they only sold a little over 3,300 tickets out of their official allotment due in large part to tickets being cheaper on the secondary market. I went to that game and bought a club-level ticket (which included a program and official bowl patch) for a grand total of $34 on StubHub.
Last year, the idea of the third trip to Miami in four years wasn't appealing to most Hokie fans (including myself after attending the KU and UC games) and they sold around 6,500 tickets for the game. Tech can't afford for that to be the case this year.
Odds are it won't. The fact Michigan is in the game means tickets on the secondary market won't be as cheap as they have been in the past. Wolverine fans have already purchased a large percentage of their tickets, but it looks like theirs have already been made available to the public.
So far, the average ticket for the game on TiqIQ (an SB Nation affiliate site) is $317, which ranks the third-highest among
bowl BCS games (I misread the graphic on the TiqIQ home page) behind the Rose and BCSNCG. Right now, the prices on that site are just about in-line with face value.
This is an important game for the Hokies, not only on the field but off as well. If the team can prove those who say they don't belong in the this game wrong with a strong performance against Michigan, fans can prove the Sugar Bowl committee right by gobbling up tickets.
If Tech returns even one ticket from its allotment, we're going to take a huge PR hit. I've already put in for my tickets. Hopefully I'll see you in New Orleans.
UPDATE NO. 1: As of Friday, Dec. 9, Virginia Tech has sold 9,200 tickets from its allotment.