If football's popularity is waning, as some critics claim, it certainly isn't happening in Texas. In fact, the center of the college football world will be in Austin in less than a month. The Texas Longhorns host the LSU Tigers Sept. 7 in a rare non-conference matchup of the two college football powers from neighboring states. With fans of both teams clamoring for seats, ticket prices are soaring on the secondary market. The average price on StubHub is around $400 per seat, with some seats at or near the 50-yard line priced above $1,500.
Fans and alumni of both schools understand the importance of the game and the excitement surrounding it. "After how the (Longhorns) ended last year with a big Sugar Bowl win, I think people are excited about the prospects of Texas football this year, and with LSU also being top 10 coming in, it's just kind of a perfect storm," says Brock Niezgoda, president of the Houston chapter of Texas Exes.
LSU's strong fan and alumni base in Texas is also driving up demand and interest. "I guess if you're an LSU fan, you're going for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go up to Austin and play one of the biggest brands in college football," says Ross Villarreal, SportsTalk 790 host and UT alum. "And for teams that aren't in the same conference, this is something that's a rarity, it doesn't happen a whole lot."
That demand by LSU fans is so strong, it has created an interesting dilemma for some UT fans. "Some of the Longhorn season ticket holders are selling off this one ticket, and being able to pay for their entire season tickets, because the demand is so high," says Chris Gordy, Sportstalk 790 host and LSU alum.
While some Longhorn fans are getting rich now, the tables will be turned next year when the teams play the return game in Baton Rouge. "I know myself and just about every other UT friend of mine are planning on making the trip out there next year," says Niezgoda. "I guess we gotta start saving up a little bit for that."