The average Southeastern Conference ticket price — including the minimum donations required for the right to purchase season tickets — has increased 80% since 1998, from $61.07 to $110.05, according to an analysis by Jon Solomon of the Birmingham News.
Alabama ($50.71) and Auburn ($50) have the highest average face-value prices in 2008, but eight SEC teams require a minimum donation just for the right to purchase season tickets, up from six teams in 1998. Example: Florida charges only $224 for seasons tickets, but getting them requires a $4,200 donation.
So not only are SEC fans paying exorbitant prices just to see a game, they continue to get a watered-down product as league teams embrace the practice of scheduling cupcakes in nonconference play. See the evidence here and here.
The excuse for doing this is that the league schedule is too demanding, but couldn't all Division I-A teams start playing each other and eliminate the need for nonconference cupcake scheduling? Teams from the Big Ten and SEC — regarded for some reason as the top power conferences — seldom meet in the regular season. Why?
Back to the SEC. ... One would think the league's fans would be outraged paying ridiculous prices for season tickets that include two or three "scrimmage" games against lower-level Division I-A teams, or — worse yet — I-AA opponents.
Now we understand why SEC teams don't want to travel for nonconference games. It would cost them a bundle.
This virus has now spread to other conferences and you, the hard-working fan, deserve better.
Click the charts for an enlarged view.