College Connect Fall 2018: Paying to be a Student Fan

By Mary Ray

Rhett Parr was a notable exception to the student football ticket chaos this year at the University of Georgia.

The fourth -year biology major was granted a full season ticket package to the Bulldogs’ seven home games as well as a ticket to all five away games.

Because of the team’s popularity following last season’s near-miss in the national championship game, demand for student tickets was high this season. Many students who had applied for football tickets discovered they had only received half-season packages for home games.

According to The Red & Black, a student newspaper, 20,200 students applied for season tickets. The student sections in Sanford Stadium, however, only seat 16,000, causing the ticket office to use a lottery system based on credit hours. In this system, top priority is given to undergraduate first year students, followed by those with at least 90 credit hours.

For away games, students with at least 90 credit hours are given first priority. According to the ticket office’s website, the Athletic Association determines the student demand for road tickets and the availability of the tickets for each game, meaning every student may not be granted all of the tickets they want.

Given the demand and the lottery system arrangement, Parr was fortunate to get all of the tickets, but then he had to pay for them. According to Parr, the total cost of both the home and away tickets was $570.

His parents offered to pay for the away game tickets as a Christmas present, which meant he had to find the money for the home games and all of the travel.

“I was going to pay for them myself if they didn’t,” Parr said in reference to away game tickets. “I only had to pay for the home games, fortunately.”

Rick Swope, the vice president of investor education at E-Trade, said that a student wishing to save for a big purchase such as football tickets or a road trip should be more careful in their every day spending.

“When you’re talking about savings, you can only do two things: you can make more, or you can spend less,” he said. “With spending less, there’s very likely an opportunity there.”

Swope recommended that students wishing to save money stop eating out and start looking for ways to minimize driving a personal car.

Parr said traveling to away games entails expenses such as food, gas and hotels. But, he has a plan for minimizing those costs. He takes a cooler with him packed with food to avoid eating out for every meal while on the road.

“For Missouri, for instance, the food bill was only $30, and I left Friday and came back Sunday,” he said.

Also for the UGA vs. Missouri game, Parr rented a car with better gas mileage than his own.

“It was cheaper to pay the $70 for a rental car with unlimited mileage that gets 40 miles to the gallon than to drive my Mustang that gets 24 miles to the gallon on a perfect day all the way there and back,” he said.

Parr has a job as a medical assistant to help with his added expenses, but Swope added there is nothing wrong with finding more ways to earn some extra money for a big purchase, providing examples such as mowing lawns and pressure washing a driveway.

“There is plenty of labor that someone can do just on a pick-up basis if they wanted to make a few extra bucks,” he said. “Everybody thinks they’re already living on the edge, but chances are you’re probably not as close to the edge as you think you are.”

Mary Ray is a journalism student at the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.


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