Clemson, West Virginia have 15,000 unsold Orange Bowl tickets
By Rachel Tannenbaum
West Virginia and Clemson universities still have hopes for high Orange Bowl ticket sales, even though goals so far haven't been reached for the Jan. 4 football game.
The Orange Bowl game, officially the Discover Orange Bowl since 2010, pits the Atlantic Coast Conference champion, Clemson, against the Bowl Champion Series at-large pick, West Virginia.
"Most tickets are sold locally prior to the teams being announced," said Larry Wahl, Orange Bowl Committee vice president of communications and community outreach since 2007. "We are well ahead of last year in sales, in all areas of the stadium, with tickets ranging in price from $75 to $250."
Both university teams were picked Dec. 4, which gave both a month to sell tickets.
Since both teams are from the Southeast, it makes travel more convenient — so convenient that both schools are offering one-day air packages that will have fans flying into Miami the morning of the game and flying home that same night.
Clemson is offering air-land packages averaging $1,600, land-only packages averaging $450 and same-day air packages for $725.
West Virginia is also offering air-land packages averaging $1,750, land-only packages averaging $900 and same-day air packages for $775.
Tara Curtis, director of communications for the West Virginia University Alumni Association, said the travel packets have been selling well.
"We have sold out the charter leaving on the first," Ms. Curtis said. "We're excited about coming to Miami and look forward to a great game against Clemson."
As for the individual teams' ticket sales, Travis Furbee, assistant athletic director and director of the IPTAY annual fund, said Clemson's ticket sales have been slowing down considerably, but that the higher-priced tickets with better locations have been selling the most.
"Our IPTAY donors have purchased the most, students have purchased 600, and other fans have taken the others," Mr. Furbee said.
IPTAY — I Pay Ten A Year — is a membership organization that aims to fund Clemson sports programs, according to the Clemson website.
Allotted 17,500 tickets with sales reaching about half the total so far, Mr. Furbee said tickets range from $75-$225, with seats for $225 and $165 selling the most.
As for West Virginia, the school is also allotted for 17,500 tickets, including tickets for the band, players and coaches, said Matt Wells, director of sports marketing. He said the school has sold slightly more than 11,000.
"The history and tradition of the Orange Bowl is huge. We would like to sell more tickets," Mr. Wells said.
Most of West Virginia's ticket sales have been lower-level tickets. Mr. Wells said the most expensive tickets are $225 for sideline seats down to $165 for the end zone.
For the second year, West Virginia has partnered with the Arizona-based Veteran Ticket Foundation, a national non-profit, non-government organization that donates tickets to active and retired military veterans, for the school's bowl game.
"So far we have had 3,002 tickets donated from West Virginia and private donors to the Orange Bowl," said founder and CMO Dwayne Somers.
Mr. Somers said the Veteran Ticket Foundation began seeking tickets through bowl games, then realized it would be easier to go directly through the schools.
Since its creation four years ago, The Veteran Ticket Foundation has been able to offer 293,816 tickets to active and retired military veterans. Mr. Somers said these tickets include sporting events, concerts and other activities.
"It is rather amazing what we have done in four year," Mr. Somers said. "We have been extremely successful in getting donations."
To donate to the Veteran Ticket Foundation, visit www.vettix.org.
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