Many Americans are understandably displeased at the way organizers of various athletic events, professional and “amateur,” force the public to pay so dearly to be mere spectators. The economy has countless needs for funding and yet sports events too often seem oblivious to the challenges so many face.
A perfect case in point was the 2009 BCS Championship Football Game in Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Thursday.
Just before kickoff time for the game between Florida and Oklahoma, tickets in the farthest corner of the upper deck were going for $550. Some scalpers were getting even more than that. Other seats, such as those high above the 50-yard line, in the club seating region and the lower bowl were ranging from $600 to $2,500 each.
Then consider this: A 14-seat luxury suite that included three parking passes and a $1,500 food credit was available for $6,706.
Who is trying to impress whom, and why? The most delightful aspect of all this is that the “poor” people who chose to watch the game on television saw it better and in more depth than the high-rollers, no matter what they tell us.
It will be interesting to see just how such excesses are continued with the nation struggling financially and so many companies failing and people losing jobs. What about the coming professional Super Bowl? For years there has been great publicity about 30-second advertising spots costing as much as
$1 million each. It is difficult to believe there are many companies that will leap at the chance to blow that kind of funding this year.
Already the U.S. Olympic Committee is losing previously well-heeled sponsors. That is bound to carry over to other athletic events, and reports on spending for BCS football activity likely will hasten such withdrawals. How soon will it affect runaway expenses and salaries in college sports?
For years, taxpayers in host communities have been forced to help build huge athletic facilities that have ticket prices the common citizen cannot afford. The time may be near when that kind of manipulation by sports promoters will be seriously altered, for the better.