Saturday’s non-conference football game between the 7th ranked Wisconsin Badgers (2-0) and Northern Illinois (1-1) can’t be seen on television. The only viewing options for that 2:30pm contest is to buy a ticket and attend in person, or viewed by live stream at ESPN3.com. The last time a Badger football game couldn’t be picked up on television was back in October of 2006 against Northwestern.
The game is being played a Soldier Field in Chicago and the drive is attractive for Badger fans. But the ticket price is a different story. Club level seats are priced at $90. Seating in the bowl is priced at $75 and $60. For a non-conference game, that’s simply too much and will keep many Badger fans at home.
Coach Bret Bielema said “It’s probably down to the finances and what people can afford or not afford.”
Northern Illinois athletic director Donna Turner said as of Monday morning, 35,000 tickets had been sold. Soldier Field in Chicago seats more than 61,000.
These prices for a Big Ten game might have been a different story. But most college football non-conference games are similar to NFL preseason games. To the fan, they hardly matter. Decision makers need to take the importance of the game and the current state of the economy into account when setting ticket prices. Not doing so will result in a stadium that will have a lot of empty seats on Saturday afternoon