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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sugar Bowl draws surprising interest

StoryChat: Comment on this story

By Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Staff Writer


1. BCS Championship: LSU vs. Ohio State, Jan. 7, Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. Average price of tickets purchased: $1,615 (previous year, $1,489)

2. Rose Bowl: USC vs. Illinois, Jan. 1, Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, Calif. Average price of tickets purchased: $522 (previous, $542)

3. Sugar Bowl: Hawai'i vs. Georgia, Jan. 1, Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. Average price of tickets purchased: $263 (previous, $279)

4. Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma vs. West Virginia, Jan. 2, University of Phoenix stadium in Glendale, Ariz. Average price of tickets purchased: $206 (previous, $214)

5. Capital One Bowl: Michigan vs. Florida, Jan. 1, Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando, Fla. Average price of tickets purchased: $200 (previous, $189)

6. Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. Kansas, Jan. 3, Dolphin Stadium in Miami. Average price of tickets purchased: $188 (previous, $212)

7. Cotton Bowl: Arkansas vs. Missouri, Jan. 1, Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas. Average price of tickets purchased: $147 (previous, $139)

8. Gator Bowl: Texas Tech vs. Virginia, Jan. 1, Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, Jacksonville, Fla. Average purchase price of tickets: $104 (previous, $133)

9. Outback Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Tennessee, Jan. 1, 2008, Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. Average price of tickets purchased: $101 (previous, $130)

Source: www.TicketsNow.com

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Tickets for the Sugar Bowl matching Hawai'i against Georgia are among the most coveted of this year's bowl game tickets and are selling online at an average price approaching last season's Sugar Bowl between Louisiana State and Notre Dame.

"That does surprise me, that does offer some level of surprise for most people," said Mark Hodes, senior vice president for Illinois-based TicketsNow.com, a leading online inventory of sports, concert and theater tickets. "I'm sure the folks at the Sugar Bowl are quite happy."

Hodes said the average online price for the Jan. 1 game is $263, ranking behind only the Bowl Championship Series title game (LSU vs. Ohio State) at $1,615 and the Rose Bowl (pairing Southern California and Illinois) at $522.

Last season, Hodes said, tickets for the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, featuring LSU playing in its home state, sold for an average of $279.

By comparison with this season's Sugar Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl (Oklahoma vs. West Virginia) and Orange Bowl (Virginia Tech vs. Kansas) are selling for an average of $206 and $188 apiece.

Initially, Hodes said, the expectation for the UH-Georgia Sugar Bowl was that ticket demand "would probably be in the lower tier next to the Orange Bowl, below $200 in average ticket price, but that obviously doesn't seem to be happening."

"Hawai'i having not been in a BCS bowl in their history is one of those uncertain dynamics that came into the market" but, Hodes said, "the demand, I think, is indicative of the draw that is coming from Hawai'i and the fact they had a quarterback in the Heisman race. That is obviously a big draw. That and the record that Hawai'i is boasting this year is speaking for itself. And Georgia is in close proximity to New Orleans, relatively speaking, but you would think the ability for Hawai'i to be a strong travel team would be kind of depressing the market, but that doesn't seem to be happening."

Hodes said he expects both TicketsNow's supply and the game to be sellouts.

TicketsNow, which said it buys its inventory from licensed ticket brokers, had 350 Sugar Bowl tickets remaining yesterday afternoon. Hodes said those ranged in price "from $150 to nearly $1,000."

Also available was a luxury box seating 44. The price: $70,000.

Reach Ferd Lewis at flewis@honoluluadvertiser.com.

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