Grand affair for inaugural CFP National Championship

Ohio State mascot Brutus takes a selfie with fans at Monday’s championship game in Arlington.
Ohio State mascot Brutus takes a selfie with fans at Monday’s championship game in Arlington. Star-Telegram

Money was probably not an issue if you had tickets for Monday’s inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship at AT&T Stadium on Monday night.

With the venue sold out full of Ohio State and Oregon fans with most paying $450 or $650 per ticket, the cost of a $9 beer in a souvenir cup probably didn’t raise an eyebrow. Concession prices were about the same as at a Cowboys game, including Cowboyritas for $17. Wisconsin wasn’t playing but cheese curd burgers were available for $15.

If you have more refined tastes, $10 wine and $12 champagne was available at kiosks around the main concourse.

You want it, they had it

Souvenir stands had just about any item you could want for CFB fans. And fans were lined up deep to snag the gear, no matter the cost. It’s cold out, so you need an Ohio State hoodie? $69.99. Oregon sweatshirt? $64.99. The most expensive item was a championship game jacket for $199.99. Title game hats were going for $34.99. You could also buy jerseys for $91.99 and foam fingers for $10.

Buckeye Fett

Bryce Slabinski, 18, a student at Ohio State was dressed as Buckeye Fett (a spinoff of the Star Wars character Boba Fett), because, as he said, “There is a bounty out on [Oregon quarterback] Marcus Mariota.”

SRO ‘worth it’

Isaac Suggitt and Tanner Bennie, both 19-year-old students at Ferris State in Big Rapids, Mich., had no regrets about buying $200 standing-room only tickets for the championship.

“It’s a really nice view. When you’re close enough to be able to see the action it’s way better than being way up, even if you don’t have the full side view,” Suggitt said. “It’s almost like watching on TV when you’re sitting up there. If you’re going to do that you might as well stay up.”

Both felt like they were in the middle of the action as opposed to sitting up in the farthest reaches of the stadium.

“I like being around all the action here,” Bennie said. “Up there you’re kind of a little more removed. Here you’re in the thick of it.”

Famous faces

NBA superstar LeBron James, a devout Ohio State fan, watched from a suite. Philadelphia Eagles coach and former Oregon coach Chip Kelly was on the Ducks’ sideline before the game. Same for former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel. Kansas State coach Bill Snyder and former Oklahoma linebacker Brian Bosworth, both recently selected for induction to the College Football Hall of Fame, were milling around during pregame festivities. Honorary captains included famous alumni from the competing schools: Orlando Pace for Ohio State and Mike Bellotti for Oregon.

Fan split

Ohio State appeared to have a 60-40 fan advantage at AT&T Stadium. It’s not surprising. Travel to Texas is easier and cheaper from Columbus, Ohio, than from Eugene, Ore. Plus, the OSU enrollment more than doubles that of Oregon. The Buckeyes’ main campus claims an enrollment of over 58,000 while the Ducks have over 24,000.

Key stat

95.8Seconds it took Lady Antebellum to sing the national anthem before the game. Denton High School senior Dynasty Poole signed the words.

Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @StevensonFWST

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