Many of you may have heard by now that Georgia Tech has started a campaign this week, trying to entice fans to purchase tickets to the Independence Bowl. Yes, that $14 special that you've heard about? It's true.
Tech's athletic association, backed by the stamp of approval from athletic director Dan Radakovich, has unveiled the package to the first 5,000 ticket purchasers in hopes of getting bodies on Tech's side of the stadium during the game itself. (The game is Dec. 27 and will be televised on ESPN2. But Radakovich doesn't want you to watch; he wants you to take what he and others are calling the "manageable" trek west to Shreveport to be there with your $14 ticket.)
"There's a lot of moving factors in the deals in bowl games," Radakovich said. "Not only in the amount of ticket sales and the amount of people that can come to the games, but the bowl directors want to make sure that they look good at their city council, at their chamber of commerce; all those other things.
"So by being able to travel and have a representative number of people there, that's going to make them look good, and then as years go by and we have the opportunity to go to bowl games, they're going to talk with one another and say 'Georgia Tech not only bought tickets, but they were actually here.'"
Radakovich spoke with media last night, before the Georgia Tech-Georgia basketball game about the pricing plan.
According to him, it was an idea the staff came up with on Sunday when he returned from meeting with Independence Bowl officials and accepting their bowl bid. He said he sat his staff down and wanted to figure out a way to get his fans to travel to the post-Christmas bowl. Thus, the $14 ticket special was born.
Why $14? The number symbolizes the 14 consecutive bowl eligible seasons the Yellow Jackets have now had.
Radakovich was unsure if this practice has occurred in the past with other schools, but it was an innovative step they felt would put people in the stadium, for what will be a relatively cheaper postseason experience for fans than last year's.
Last season, with the Yellow Jackets playing in the ACC championshp and then the Orange Bowl and being given short notice to set up a pair of trips to the Sunshine State, fans had to dig deep for funds. In addition to hotel and travel costs, tickets to the Orange Bowl went for $125 apiece, and ACC championship tickets were in the $75 range. By cutting more than half of the price off the $37 Independence Bowl ticket, Radakovich is hoping that fans will still be enticed to go, given that they will be saving a lot compared to a year ago. Also, as he pointed out, both of last season's postseason games occurred while families had to worry about jobs and children being in school. This year's bowl falls two days after the Christmas holiday, when most people will still be away from work and school.
The $14 tickets can only be purchased at ramblinwreck.com, and will be available until Dec. 12. From then, the price goes back to its regular listing.
So far, sales are brisk. In about a day-and-a-half, the Institute had sold more than 2,000 tickets through the package, Radakovich said. While some of those purchases have been donations Tech fans have made in the hopes the tickets will be pooled back into the bowl's community share, where people can purchase at the ticket window, Radakovich hopes figure out a way to use at least some of the tickets they're donating.
"If you're purchase eight tickets and are donating any, we hope that you at least hold on to two and come to the game and use some," he said.
The magic number of tickets Tech wants to hit is 5,000. If the school can go even further and hit 6,000, it won't have to pay the bowl for any tickets not sold. Instead, the ACC will pay a graduated rate for each 1,000 tickets short of 10,000 that the Yellow Jackets end up being.
Last season, when it played Texas A&M in the Independence Bowl, Georgia brought about 7,000 supporters, Radakovich said.