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SEC Student Ticket Prices and Availability

Student Section at The Swamp

Last week I looked at student ticket prices in the Big Ten for football and basketball. Today we’re going to look at the SEC and take it a step further (I’ll update the Big Ten piece with this extended data soon) by looking at the number of student tickets available at each university and what percentage of the stadium’s total capacity is reserved for students.

First, let’s look at football:

School Student Fees Football Student Season Ticket # of tickets Stadium Capacity % of total capacity
Alabama $0.00 $35   101,821 0.0%
Arkansas $0.00 $65 9,500 72,000 13.2%
Auburn $5,261,604.00 $116 for full season, $58 for mini season 16,000 87,451 18.3%
Florida $2,507,391.00 $70 20,750 88,458 23.5%
Georgia $3,202,545.00 $48 18,026 92,746 19.4%
Kentucky $738,194.00 $35 4,500 67,606 6.7%
LSU $0.00 $108 14,000 92,400 15.2%
Mississippi $1,820,200.00 $84 5,500 60,580 9.1%
Mississippi State $4,000,000.00 $35 11,000 55,082 20.0%
South Carolina $2,146,293.00 $0 10,000 80,250 12.5%
Tennessee $1,000,000.00 $70 14,000 102,455 13.7%
Vanderbilt N/A $0 6,000 39,790 15.1%
Average $1,879,657.00 $56 11,752 78,387 13.9%

You’ll note that Alabama’s data is incomplete. Unfortunately, calls to their athletic department for the last couple of weeks have not been returned. Due to the incredibly difficult situation in Tuscaloosa following last week’s tornado damage, I’ve decided to post this story without waiting for Alabama’s response. If anyone from Alabama reads this and can provide the information, I’d be happy to update the chart.

Also, these are 2010 prices. Florida has recently increased to $105 for 2011.

If you read the piece on Big Ten student ticket prices, you’ll remember that Northwestern was the only school who did not charge for football tickets. We have two in the SEC: Vanderbilt and South Carolina.

What stood out to me first was how few student tickets are available at Kentucky, Mississippi and Vanderbilt. 

The former two are at or below half of the average number of student tickets available at schools in the SEC, while Vanderbilt is just above the half-way mark. If you take a look at the percent of total stadium capacity reserved for students, Vanderbilt is above the average while Kentucky and Mississippi fall far below the average.

Meanwhile, six SEC schools who were in the top 10 in attendance in the NCAA last year all offered far more student tickets than the three mentioned above. Alabama (4), Georgia (7), LSU (8), Florida (9) and Auburn (10) all offered above the average in term of percent of total capacity, and Tennessee (6) was just below the average. All six schools offered above the average in terms of number of student tickets.

I’m impressed that schools like these six would offer so many student tickets when I’m quite sure they could all make more money by offering more of those tickets to the general public. None of these schools have attendance problems and are generally sold out. There’s no doubt in my mind they would still sell out even if the student population were more limited in their access. I’ve often heard students complain that more tickets aren’t offered to students, but I’m surprised to find just how many are offered when the school has the opportunity to make more money if they were to sell them to the general public.

If you missed the Big Ten piece, however, let me point out that Michigan has no limit for student tickets, but allows all those who want one to purchase. No school in the SEC operates in this manner.

One last note on the SEC versus the Big Ten before we move on to basketball: which is more expensive? Turns out the Big Ten’s average of $145 per student football ticket is more than twice the SEC’s $56 average.

Now on to basketball:

School Student Fees Basketball Student Season Ticket # of tickets Arena capcity % of total capacity
Alabama $0.00 $0 N/A 15,316 N/A
Arkansas $0.00 $65 3,000 19,368 15.5%
Auburn $5,261,604.00 $0 1,500 9,600 15.6%
Florida $2,507,391.00 $0 2,500 12,000 20.8%
Georgia $3,202,545.00 $34 3,251 10,523 30.9%
Kentucky $738,194.00 $90 4,500 23,500 19.1%
LSU $0.00 $0 1,650 13,472 12.2%
Mississippi $1,820,200.00 $48 2,000 9,061 22.1%
Mississippi State $4,000,000.00 $0 2,500 10,500 23.8%
South Carolina $2,146,293.00 $0 3,000 18,000 16.7%
Tennessee $1,000,000.00 $0 3,700 21,000 17.6%
Vanderbilt N/A $0 3,000 14,316 21.0%
Averages $1,879,657.00 $19.75 2,781.91 14,721.33 19.58%

As you can see, a larger percentage of available seats are offered for basketball as compared to football and quite a few schools offer basketball season tickets for free.

I’ll leave you with a some questions. Why do Kentucky and Mississippi reserve so few seats for students? How do you feel about the percentage of stadiums and arenas that are reserved for students? Is it enough?

Thanks to my research assistant Spencer Anderson for his research on this piece!

About Kristi Dosh

Kristi A. Dosh is the founder of BusinessofCollegeSports.com and has served as a sports business analyst and contributor for outlets such as Forbes, ESPN, SportsBusiness Journal, Bleacher Report, SB Nation and more. She is also the author of a book on the business of college football, Saturday Millionaires. Kristi is a sought-after consultant and speaker on topics related to the business of college sports and a former practicing attorney. Click to learn more
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