Friday, February 23, 2018
News Roundup

Fans hold out hope for reasonable College Football Playoff championship tickets

Chris Jordan will do anything for one more ticket to tonight's College Football Playoff National Championship.

The devout Clemson fan even resorted to enemy territory — an Alabama fan site — to find a rare pair for $700 each: one for his wife, the other for his 14-year-old son.

But Jordan, who is on his 36th year of waiting to see his Tigers win a second title, was short one ticket for himself. When he checked online Sunday morning, prices soared to $1,400 for a single ticket.

"I'm not willing to pay $1,400 . . . that's why I'm waiting," said Jordan, 44. But at the same time, "I can't see us coming down here and not (go)."

This year, the towns of Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Clemson, S.C., are within driving distance to Tampa, compared to a cross-country flight to Glendale, Ariz., last year. And this championship game offers a contentious rematch.

As of Sunday afternoon, ticket prices on StubHub ranged from $1,599 for a ticket in the upper deck to $17,820 for a sideline seat in the lower bowl of the 70,000-seat stadium.

Jordan drove his family down to Tampa anyway. And on Sunday morning at the Championship Beach Bash at Clearwater's Pier 60, he approached packs of Tigers fans to ask around for tickets.

"A guy this morning told me, 'I'm following StubHub like the stock market,' " Jordan said.

The Jordans weren't the only ones who made the pilgrimage without a ticket to the main event. The Malone family from Demopolis, Ala., deemed $500 per ticket too expensive for a family of four, so they planned to roam around the stadium tonight to find desperate scalpers. And they desperately wanted to witness a 'Bama win in the Nick Saban era.

Brian Malone, 45, who bears a strong resemblance to Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, said he was planning a gimmick to attract attention to score tickets. He kept $1,000 cash in his pocket just in case.

"We thought we could pick up something cheap, that's the game plan," he said.

Malone wasn't the only one ready to dole out cash for a hot ticket.

"I've got cash in my pocket right now," $900 worth, said Steven Bonnell, 27, who drove overnight from Greenville, S.C., with his friend Taylor Everette, 25, after a 12-hour work shift.

From Anderson, S.C., Debra Roland stood outside Clemson University to send off the buses on their trip to Tampa. She posted a video on Facebook of her dancing and holding a sign that read: "All in, go Tigers, we believe, and I need three tickets."

The Roland family came to Tampa anyway, stopping along the way to ask every Clemson fan for spare tickets.

"We're asking everywhere we stop: restaurants, rest stops, everywhere," said Debra's son, Eli Roland, 22. Even Chick-fil-A.

Kate Seninger, 33, who came with her husband from Charleston, S.C., kept checking StubHub and asking around at her hotel to score reasonably priced tickets. The ones she passed up were $800. "Those seem cheap now," she said.

"I've met more people out here without tickets," Seninger said. "I'm losing hope."

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