Biggest bang for your buck: SBC football style

17 06 2010

So Rivals.com released a list of season ticket costs throughout the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision earlier this week.

The list ranked teams on the lowest priced ticket that can be purchased for an FBS team. 

The most expensive – Ohio State ($2,107 with donation and ticket cost)

The least expensive – none other than Western Kentucky ($30)

As far as the Sun Belt was concerned, as expected, everything is incredibly cheap as far as FBS college football is concerned. 

But since it’s the summer and there’s not a lot cracking on a daily basis around here, I decided to rank the SBC members on their overall value factor. 

I took into account the stadium (both the uniqueness, overall quality and fan experience) and the product on the field (self explanatory). 

Without further adieu – here goes:

STEALS

 

photo courtesy of Troy University

 

Troy $50 – In my humble opinion, Veterans Memorial Stadium (no more Movie Gallery sponsorship – you can probably blame Netflix) is  a top notch football facility given the overall budget and size of the school. And on top of that, Troy is the cream of the crop on the field in the league – and has been one of the better mid-level type programs in the country over the last few years. What you might not know: Fantastic press box and some really solid BBQ served the last time I was there. 

 
Middle Tennessee $65 – The university has put some solid coin into its football program in recent years, as the Blue Raiders have been to bowl games in two of the past four seasons – and should be one of the favorites to win the Sun Belt again this year. The product on the field is worth going to see and the price really isn’t that bad, even if the stadium looks a bit old. The price is more than affordable, and the team competes. What you might not know: Given the way that Reese Smith Jr. Field sits tucked in behind Floyd Stadium, a solid right-handed power hitter can deposit a ball into the football bleachers. Where else are you going to find that?

JURY’S STILL OUT (FOR NICK, ANYWAY)

 

 

 

 

Cajun Field –courtesy of ULL

 

Louisiana-Lafayette $75 – Admittedly, this is one of two stadiums in the Sun Belt that I’ve never visited. But I do know that folks in Cajun country routinely draws solid crowds. A bit pricey at first glance, but the team has been bowl eligible each of the past two seasons – and, hey, the stadium nicknamed ‘The Swamp’ basically sits inside The National Wetlands Center. So no false advertising there. 

Arkansas State $55 – The second stadium I’ve yet to visit in the Sun Belt, but an eye test from a photo gallery suggests that this is a perfectly fine athletic facility to watch a game in. Plenty of seats, nothing looks obstructed and you can’t beat that price. Again, I haven’t been there, but I do know that ASU is in the process of putting down a brand new playing surface. As for the product on the field, the Red Wolves haven’t exactly been fantastic as of late – but they were bowl eligible in 2008. 

IT’LL COST YOU ALMOST NOTHING! … BUT THERE’S A CATCH 

 

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of WKU

 

Western Kentucky $30 – Easily the cheapest ticket in the Sun Belt for the league’s newest member. Houchens-Smith Stadium has obviously come an incredibly long way in a very, very short amount of time. The community and the university did its job to place a quality 1-A facility for fans to gravitate to. The team on the other hand? Just 2-22 since the place was 100 percent complete in 2008. Willie Taggart’s looking to change that. If he does, this bargain moves up (and the cost of tickets might go with it). What you might not know: the last 20 steps of the march from ground to press box actually feel like 20 miles. Not kidding. 

Florida International $40 – FIU Stadium kicked off its inaugural season in 2008, and I was actually pretty impressed by the entire joint as a whole. A very nice commitment from the athletic department to the program that’s smack dab in the middle of college football’s biggest recruiting hotbed. The Golden Panthers haven’t really put it all together completely on the field, but they’ve got a boat load of home-grown talent on the roster. Forty bucks a year for that? I’d take it. But there’s just so much going on in Miami – only time will tell if FIU football becomes a Saturday routine for the massive community. What you might not know: Actually had an outdoor press box the last time I was there two years ago. It was under construction, but hey, not a horrible thing to have to sit outside in south Florida. 

OVERPRICED

Louisiana-Monroe $95 – Facilities are far from fantastic, but the Warhawks have been bowl eligible two of the past three years. So at least, in recent years anyway, folks have been paying for a .500 team. Lower the price and this one probably moves up. But right now? ULM season ticket holders pay the same amount that UCLA season ticket holders do. Come on. What you might not know: An all you can handle fountain soda machine is within press access, plus, the view from above is actually one of highest sitting seats I’ve ever had in a press box –not only can you see everything with no problem, but you might also be able to touch a cloud. 

Photo courtesy of North Texas

 

North Texas $90 – UNT is in the process of building a new football stadium, which is scheduled to open up in 2011 – a 30,000 seat facility that actually looks extremely nice according to artist renderings. But for now, Fouts Field is pretty rough. And on top of that, the team is 10-49 since 2005. Rough facility, rough patch for a once dominant SBC program and the second-highest price in the league make this overpriced. This ranking improves when the Mean Green open up that new building, and if the team turns itself around maybe it’s worth the price. What you might not know: Texas-sized steak dinners in the press box – plus, Sinbad played there in the comedy classic ‘Necessary Roughness.’ 

INCOMPLETE

Florida Atlantic $44 – FAU is attempting to get approval for a new football facility, and according to a recent blog update from Sun-Sentinel FAU writer Ted Hutton – could still actually be in the new digs in 2011 if it gets the Ok in September. But for right now, FAU plays in probably the worst 1-A facility in the country. Lockhart Stadium is basically a high school field in Fort Lauderdale that frankly is just plain no good. The  Owls have been competitive on the field recently and that price is rock bottom – but that facility is just not there. What you might not know: Lockhart Stadium is home to Miami FC – a pro soccer team. And a few years ago, fans over 21 attending a game received free beer. Who would complain about that one?

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