As big-time college football prepares to kick off Thurs., Sept. 2 with a handful of games, our thoughts turn to falling leaves, tailgating -- and really cheap tickets.
If you happen to live near Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Ky., you're in luck. Season tickets are available for as low as $30 for the entire five-game home schedule. That probably puts the Hilltoppers at the bottom in pricing for major college football ... and tops in our WalletPop hearts.
"For people from outside football schools, it just shocks them," ticket office employee Adam Whitt told WalletPop. "We're pretty much giving them away."
Western Kentucky's home field, Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium, has a capacity of 24,000, so there isn't a bad seat in the house, Whitt said. And considering that an average NFL ticket last season was $75 for one game, WKU's $6-a-game rate is the kind of bargain makes it almost worth the weekend commute from Brooklyn. But you'd better pack some patience: The team lost all 12 of its games last season to bring its losing streak to 20, the longest in the nation. Nowhere to go but up, right?
Ticket buyers will likely have to keep expectations in check, even if their new coach, Willie Taggart, has generated optimism. The team opens Sat., Sept. 4, at Nebraska. Its home opener is Sept. 18 against Indiana. As they say, plenty of seats available.
Western Kentucky has company in recession-friendly major college football, according to a rivals.com compilation of the least expensive major college football season tickets. Kent State sells a $30 plan as well, followed by Florida International ($40), New Mexico State ($40), Florida Atlantic ($44) and Eastern Michigan ($45). The aforementioned do not strike fear in hearts of
opponents the way defending national champion Alabama does, but they are among the 120 universities that share the same level, now awkwardly called the FBS: the Football Bowl Subdivision.
The high end of bare-bones season tickets is no surprise. It's occupied by many schools that were powerful back when raccoon coats were in vogue. It's also the realm of "donations," seat license fees, and other tariffs that can hit fans harder than a linebacker.
One minimally-priced Ohio State season plan could run $2,107, according to the list. No cheap cheer-cheer for ol' Notre Dame either, at $1,740. Wisconsin? Not far behind at $1,294 -- one big chunk of cheese.
Given the high cost of fandom, we're rooting this fall for Western Kentucky. New coach. New hope. And season tickets so low your wallet will want to suit up and play -- linebacker, no doubt, as in bottom line.
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