Molly Farmer’s 98-year-old mother died in August and she has found the perfect way to spend her inheritance: She is going to the BCS national title game.
“My mother left me a little bit of money and if it wasn’t for that, I’d have to dip into my savings because there is no inexpensive way to go to this game,” the Columbus woman said.
The football game between undefeated Auburn and Oregon on Jan. 10 in Glendale, Ariz., has fans paying enormous prices to attend. Individual tickets on websites such as StubHub are going for thousands of dollars.
Trip packages from travel agencies are also going fast, even though those packages that include game tickets carry an approximately $3,000 per person price tag. And a visit to the Premiere Sports Travel website found the words “sold out” often.
“My mother must be dancing in heaven,” said Farmer, whose parents were both big Auburn football fans.
Farmer, 63, whose family has had Auburn season tickets since she was a child, said she is an avid fan who rarely misses a game and has an “Auburn Room” at her home dedicated to the team.
She and her husband of 38 years, Andy, are going to Arizona for three days. They purchased packages at more than $2,000 each.
“We’ll spend about $5,000 to $6,000 before it’s all over,” Farmer said.
Planning the trip
Auburn received 17,000 tickets with 1,500 going to students and the others to scholarship donors, suite owners and Tigers Unlimited Fund donors as well as some faculty. Those tickets went for $300 each.
There were some packages through the Auburn Alumni Association that offered flight and hotel arrangements but no tickets.
Travel Travel, a travel agency in Auburn, Ala., sold out of its packages. One that sold for $2,895 included a charter flight, tickets to the game, a pre-game party, transportation to the game and three days in a Hilton Hotel.
“We had numerous people who called about packages but flinched when they heard the price,” said agent Katie Bodden, who will make the trip with other agents. “It has been lot of fun.”
Columbus Travel sold about 10 packages.
“We had tons of calls,” said consultant Laura Schelling. “We did a lot more business than we did last year when Alabama went to the championship game. This could be a sign that the economy is getting better.”
Schelling said some people who called one day and decided to “think about it” lost their chance.
She said some fans are finding it cheaper to fly into Las Vegas, but that’s not what she would prefer.
“Who wants to drive more than four hours back to a hotel after the game,” Schelling said. “You know what the traffic is going to be like.”
Jana and Mike Tarleton of Columbus decided to go to Las Vegas, but they will leave the driving to someone else.
“The flights are cheaper,” she said.
They will be in a chartered bus filled with Auburn fans. “It’ll be fun,” she said.
The couple booked their flight and hotel reservations before even getting tickets.
Jana Tarleton said it has been a great season for Auburn and she wants to be at the championship game.
“We’re playing for No. 1. This is a big deal,” she said. “It’s been a stressful season. I’ve listened to every call-in radio show and I even got on Twitter to get all of the news.”
Jay Coulter, the man behind the “Track’em Tigers” blog, said he hasn’t “pulled the trigger yet” on buying a ticket.
“It’s going to be difficult to resist,” he said.
Coulter said one reason tickets are at such a premium is that last year when Alabama played for the title the game was in the Rose Bowl, which seats more than 100,000. This University of Phoenix Stadium seats fewer than 73,000.
Coulter would really like to be at the game and is looking for a good deal. This was first season in some time he didn’t buy season tickets.
“That came back to bite me,” he said. “What a surreal season.”