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Penn State Price Plummet: Scandal Fallout?

Penn State
Penn State

One week into last year’s season, tickets for Nittany Lions home games had an average resale price of $187.79. This year at the same point in the season, Penn State home game tickets average $147.43, according to numbers from TiqIQ, an event ticket price aggregator that draws its data from sellers such as StubHub, Ticket Network and eBay. That’s a drop of 21.49 percent.

“Over a 20 percent drop is steep year over year,” says Chris Matcovich, Director of Data Communications at TiqIQ.

The obvious question: How much of this is fallout from Penn State’s Sandusky sex abuse scandal?

“I think it’s very hard to tell if the scandal didn’t affect the team in terms of [lost] scholarships and the team not being able to go to the bowl for a few years," Matcovich said. "I like to think it was 50-50 or more, but it has a lot to do with whether you’re winning and what have you done for the fans lately. Mostly I would say a lot of it has to do with performance on the field. I think prices will go up if it’s good, and if it’s not, people will blame the scandal or talent on the field.”

While Penn State showed a fairly big drop, it wasn’t the most dramatic in college football. The biggest was the Oregon Ducks, but that drop has more with the team's losing ways after vying for a championship two years ago.

Still, the Sandusky case is the largest scandal in the three years TiqIQ has been in business.

“Obviously a scandal this big is going to affect the team going forward… I don’t think it’ll be back [up to the former average ticket prices], it’s going to be hard losing scholarships, trying to recruit knowing they can’t go to a bowl game at the end of the season, because of the sanctions against them,” said Matcovich. He predicts that during the four-year sanctioned period of suspended scholarships and postseason participation, the Nittany Lions’ performance will suffer, then tickets will stay in the same range or go even lower depending in on their game performance.

“Jeremy Lin had a huge [positive] effect on the Knicks ticket markets. Success on the court or field is what really figures in.”