You could’ve bought a cup of coffee or a ticket to TCU football’s season opener on Friday morning.
Or both if you had a $5 bill.
A handful of upper deck tickets to TCU’s Aug. 30 home game against Samford are listed on VividSeats for $2 apiece.
Of course, that comes with a $15 shipping fee and $1.40 service fee, but the low figure is one example of what fans can find in the fluctuating, demand-driven secondary ticket market, where one seat at one game can go for a couple bucks and another seat at the next can go for a couple thousand.
The secondary market works like this: Tickets are bought from a primary vendor — say, a season ticket package purchased through TCU — and then resold on sites such as StubHub, Ticket City and Vivid Seats.
Usually, the bigger the game, the more expensive the ticket on the secondary market becomes. And if the game isn’t as big — such as TCU’s opener against Samford — fans can save money through a secondary market rather than paying full price for a face value ticket.
Here’s a glance at the secondary ticket markets for each Big 12 school in Texas, along with the SEC’s Texas A&M:
At today’s prices, you should be able to catch the Horned Frogs’ first three games for less than $60. For the Samford game, there’s the $2 option on Vivid Seats. A better minimum deal might be the pair of $5.25 tickets listed on StubHub. Those are in the second deck behind the north end zone and include an electronic download. Minimum prices for the Minnesota game range from $21 to $30.33 on the three sites. Minimums for TCU’s Sept. 27 trip to SMU drop slightly to the $15 to $20 range. Not surprisingly, prices rise sharply for the Frogs’ Big 12 schedule. Tickets for the Oklahoma game on Oct. 4 start at $84 on Stubhub and range to around $2,000.
Best bargain: Oklahoma State at TCU, Oct. 18. $24, south end zone general admission (Vivid Seats). This will be the Cowboys’ first trip to Fort Worth since TCU joined the Big 12. A GA ticket doesn’t designate a specific seat, but an early arrival could put you as close to the action as most higher-priced tickets along the sidelines.
Vivid Seats ranks the Longhorns as having the 12th-most expensive median ticket price for home games, checking in at $120. Texas’ average, per Vivid Seats, is $188. Those pricy figures are also reflected on StubHub and Ticket City, where prices for the Longhorns’ home opener against North Texas start at $60.75 and $44. Texas’ most expensive minimum ticket — to no surprise — is its Red River Showdown against Oklahoma on Oct. 11. StubHub starts at $233.40, Vivid Seats at $167 ($202.43 after fees) and Ticket City at $172 ($215 after fees). The Texas-OU game is the fifth-most expensive ticket on Vivid Seats, with a median price of $395.
Best bargain: Baylor at Texas, Oct. 4. $85, lower level end zone (Vivid Seats). Easy choice here, because it’s the best home game on Texas’ schedule. Getting in the stadium — and in a nose-bleed-free seat — for less than $100, is solid. There’s also a few season ticket packages listed on Stubhub starting at $524.73.
The Aggies edged Texas in Vivid Seats’ rankings with a median ticket price of $127, good for 10th in the country. StubHub’s most expensive starting price for an A&M home game is $193.99, for the Aggies’ Thanksgiving matchup with LSU. Parking passes for that game are starting at around $100 on StubHub. In line with other comparisons, Vivid Seats has starting prices for the LSU game a bit lower than StubHub, beginning at $134 for an upper deck ticket, but totals $181.63 after fees and shipping. The rest of A&M’s home games have starting prices ranging from $27 to $99 across the three sites.
Best bargain: Missouri at Texas A&M, Nov. 15, $73-$79.55, upper deck end zone. All three sites have listings within this range for what should be an important game in the scheme of the SEC standings, if all goes as planned. The LSU game should still be the crown jewel of A&M’s 2014 home schedule, but those prices could skyrocket even more than they already have between now and Thanksgiving.
The Bears’ debut of McLane Stadium is Aug. 31 against SMU, and the starting prices for that game are the highest so far on Baylor’s home schedule. They range from $109 to $155.01 across the three sites. Another observation: Starting prices for the Kansas game are slightly higher than the TCU game. That will most likely change if the Bears and Frogs enter their Oct. 11 matchup largely unscathed.
Best bargain: Oklahoma State at Baylor, Nov. 22, $41-$59.07, upper level corner. If you like a high-scoring game, then it probably won’t matter where OSU or Baylor sit in the Big 12 standings, because you’ll likely get your fill no matter what. Still, there’s a strong chance this game will have heavy implications on the chase for the Big 12 title.
Two games stand out on Texas Tech’s home schedule: Texas (Nov. 1) and Oklahoma (Nov. 15). And the starting ticket prices for those games have reflected that accordingly. The Texas game is the priciest, with starting prices ranging from $80 on Vivid Seats to $110 on StubHub. Minimum prices for the Oklahoma game range from $52 on Ticket City to $70.11 on StubHub.
Best bargain: Oklahoma at Texas Tech, Nov. 15, $52 upper level sideline (Ticket City). Pretty solid deal from Ticket City, considering the opponent and location of the seat. A $6 seat (via Vivid Seats) to the home opener against Central Arkansas isn’t bad either. The only thing that could devalue a ticket to the Oklahoma game is if one or both teams have played their way out of the conference title race. But if both are still in the chase, that $52 figure should rise.