PAY LIKE A CHAMPION

The five most expensive college football tickets

By Ira Boudway and Keenan Mayo

Football season is still weeks away, but the secondary market for National Collegiate Athletic Association tickets kicked off months ago. “The size of the market, in dollar terms, has gone up 17.4 percent compared to the same point last year, from $34.9 million to $41 million,” says Will Flaherty, director of communications of the ticket search engine SeatGeek. Flaherty credits much of the early sales activity to the resurgence of the Texas A&M Aggies and their poster boy quarterback, Johnny “Football” Manziel: The Aggies’ September home game against Alabama accounted for 9 percent of all tickets sold in the secondary marketplace as of July 17. That translates to about $3.6 million. Below, SeatGeek reveals the five most in-demand games — and the most expensive seats.

University of Alabama at Texas A&M, Sept. 14

Seat: Field level sideline, section 105, row 27

Price: $2,500; game average: $604.15

Reason: Last November, the Aggies, newbies to the Southeastern Conference (SEC), visited Alabama for the first time and upset the top-ranked Crimson Tide 29-24. The game was Alabama’s only loss, and the team went on to beat Notre Dame for a second straight national championship. The Tide and their faithful come looking for revenge.

LSU at TCU (Cowboys Stadium), Aug. 31

Seat: Club Hall of Fame level, section 133, row 19

Price: $2,490; game average: $492.27

Reason: The season opener, named the Cowboys Classic and played at Jerry World in Arlington, Tex., carries promise for all Texas Christian University diehards, as it’s a chance to begin the season by knocking off one of the SEC’s toughest. Louisiana State hopes to come back strong after a troubling 2012, which was defined by a three-game skid and an embarrassing loss to Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

UCLA at USC, Nov. 30

Seat: Lower Premium, section 22, row 4

Price: $1,580; game average: $250.26

Reason: For the first time in years, the favorite between these two Pacific-12 Conference teams appears to be the University of California at Los Angeles. Last year, in his first season with the Bruins, head coach Jim Mora managed nine wins and attracted a stellar recruiting class. Across town at the University of Southern California, head coach Lane Kiffin’s woes continue: The Trojans posted an ugly 7-6 record last year after being ranked No. 1 in the preseason. Much of the team’s talent is returning, however, and some football insiders are calling USC a sleeper.

ASU at Notre Dame (Cowboys Stadium), Oct. 5

Seat: Club Hall of Fame level, section 134, row 20

Price: $1,545; game average: $438.15

Reason: The game, at Cowboys Stadium, is part of the Shamrock Series, Notre Dame’s program in which they host regular-season “home” games in different parts of the country. Arizona State, coming off its first bowl win in seven years at the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, has high hopes for 2013 and believes that its powerful backfield can lead it to a Pac-12 championship.

USC at Notre Dame, Oct. 19

Seat: Lower level sideline, section 9, row 29

Price: $1,265; game average: $564.03

Reason: Same old. It’s one of the highest-profile rivalries in the sport, and the two schools share 22 national championships between them.

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